Purplestem Aster, White ?

Purplestem Aster, White ?
Purplestem Aster, White Form. Symphyotrichum puniceum, formerly Aster puniceum.
Asteraceae, the daisy, sunflower or composite family.

Plant: Erect, branching, smooth to sparsely hairy stems, 1'-4', often reddish of purplish, with loose terminal clusters of here, white, but more often light blue to violet, daisy-like flower heads. Perennial
Flowers: Here white, more often light blue to violet, daisy-like flower heads, 1"-1.25", with 20-50 ray flowers, and bright yellow centers, changing to brown. Bracts hairless or nearly so.
Leaves: Alternate, narrowly ovate to lanceolate-linear, 2"-6", sparsely toothed or toothless mostly smooth, and clasping the stem.
Fruit: Dry seed-like achene with silky hairs.
Blooming: August-October
Habitat: Fields, meadows, damp thickets.

Comments: One of several larger blue-violet to whitish asters in our area, a white form of purplestem aster is current best guess for the flowers depicted here. This species is one of the most variable and widespread. The asters in this group tend to be highly variable, to interbreed, and are often difficult to distinguish. A large group of north-American asters formerly placed in the genus Aster have been placed in new genera, many of them in Symphyotrichum.

Where to find it: Occasional near the north-west shore of the pond, and possibly in other open areas, often mixed with New England Aster, which is a deeper purple in this area.