Description from Flora of China
Aster asteroides (Candolle) Kuntze subsp. costei (H. Léveillé) Grierson; A. costei H. Léveillé; A. likiangensis subsp. costei (H. Léveillé) Onno.
Herbs, perennial, 3-20 cm tall, scapiform, sometimes caespitose; rhizomes short, thick; roots tuberoid near ground surface. Stems erect, simple, usually ± purplish, villosulous to villous (crosswalls often purple), proximally sparsely to distally densely minutely purplish stipitate glandular. Leaves basal and cauline; cauline leaves abruptly reduced, sparsely to moderately villosulous, sparsely minutely purple stipitate glandular, margin entire or remotely serrate to serrulate, ciliate, often 3-veined; basal leaves present at anthesis, long (petiole to 4 cm) or shortly petiolate; blade ovate to oblong or oblanceolate, 0.5-3.5 × 0.2-2.2 cm, base attenuate, apex acute to obtuse; middle cauline leaves sessile, ovate or obovate to linear-lanceolate, 0.8-2 × 0.1-0.6 cm. Capitula terminal, solitary. Involucres hemispheric, 6-7 mm in diam.; phyllaries 2- or 3-seriate, subequal, oblong to lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 8-12 × 1.5-3 mm, abaxially densely purple villous proximally to sparsely so distally, sparsely proximally to densely distally minutely purplish stipitate glandular, membranous, margin narrowly scarious, purple apically, purple villous-ciliate, purple minutely stipitate glandular, multiveined, apex acute to acuminate, tip twisted, purple. Ray florets 12-55, bluish to lavender-purple, lamina 11-21 × 1.5-3 mm, glabrous, eglandular; disk florets yellow, sometimes purplish brown distally, 4-5 mm, tube 1-1.5 mm, glabrate, limb funnelform, 3.5-4 mm, lobes erect, triangular, 0.5-1 mm, glabrous, sparsely minutely stipitate glandular. Achenes (immature) narrowly obovoid, ca. 3 mm, sparsely strigillose, eglandular, 2-ribbed. Pappus (immature) 2-seriate, straw-colored; outermost series of few broad scales ca. 1 mm; inner series of sometimes purplish, barbellate bristles 3.5-4 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun-Aug.
Aster likiangensis is closely related to A. asteroides and has been regarded as a subspecies of it by Grierson (Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 26: 67-163. 1964). It is distinguished by the purple disk floret lobes that are stipitate glandular.
Alpine meadows, wet open slopes, valleys, mixed shrubs, marshy places; 3500-4500 m. SW Sichuan, SE Xizang, NW Yunnan [Bhutan].