20. Symphyotrichum pratense (Rafinesque) G. L. Nesom, Phytologia. 77: 290. 1995.
Barrens silky aster
Aster pratensis Rafinesque, Fl. Ludov., 67. 1817 (as pratense); A. phyllolepis Torrey & A. Gray; A. sericeus Ventenat var. microphyllus de Candolle; Symphyotrichum sericeum (Ventenat) G. L. Nesom var. microphyllum (de Candolle) Wunderlin and B. F. Hansen; Virgulus pratensis (Rafinesque) Reveal & Keener
Perennials, 40–60 cm, cespitose, eglandular; with cormoid, woody caudices. Stems 5–10+, ascending to erect (brown), glabrous or sparsely strigose distally. Leaves (grayish green) firm, margins entire; basal withering by flowering, sessile, blades (1–3 nerved) elliptic-lanceolate, 20–40 × 10–20 mm, bases attenuate, margins usually entire, rarely remotely serrate, piloso-ciliate, apices acute to obtuse, faces piloso-scabrous; proximal cauline withering by flowering, sessile, blades oblanceolate, 20–30 × 5–13 mm, reduced distally, bases rounded, subclasping, margins entire, scrabrous, apices acute to obtuse, cuspidate-mucronate, faces glabrous or moderately strigose or ± scabrous; distal sessile, blades oblong-lanceolate, 15–25 × 4–6 mm, bases cuneate, margins entire, apices acute, white-spinulose, faces glabrate to moderately strigose or ± scabrous. Heads in open, paniculiform arrays (1–5+ per branch). Peduncles glabrous or sparsely strigose, bracts oblong-lanceolate, grading into phyllaries. Involucres narrowly campanulate, 6–11 mm. Phyllaries in 3–4 series, outer broadly lanceolate, flaring distally , inner linear-lanceolate, subequal, outer foliceous, bases (tan) ± indurate, margins long-piloso-ciliate, green zones foliaceous (outer), apices sometimes purplish, acute (outer) to acuminate (inner), faces glabrous or sparsely short-pilose. Ray florets 13–15(–36); corollas rose-purple, laminae 8–13 × 1–2 mm. Disc florets 16–34(–48); corollas pink turning purple, 4.5–7.5 mm, tubes shorter than narrowly funnelform throats (sometimes thinly puberulent), lobes triangular, 8–13 mm. Cypselae tan to light brown, obovoid, not compressed, ± 3 mm, 5–8-nerved, faces glabrous; pappi tan, 3.5–6 mm. 2n = 10, 20.
Flowering Oct–Nov. Prairies, oak woodlands, pine-oak scrub, fields, roadsides; 0–500 m; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Miss., Tenn., Tex., Va.