Description from Flora of China
Aster subcaerulea S. Moore; A. tongolensis f. glabratus Diels; A. tongolensis f. humilis Diels.
Herbs, perennial, 14-47 cm tall, sometimes caespitose; rhizome slender, procumbent or ascending, often with stolons bearing rosettes. Stems erect, simple, somewhat slender, sparsely strigose or strigillose, villous or villosulous, sometimes sparsely minutely stipitate glandular. Leaves basal and cauline; cauline leaves gradually or sometimes abruptly reduced upward, both surfaces scabridulous or hirsute, margin ciliate, 3-veined, veins conspicuous; basal leaves winged petiolate, petiole base subclasping; blade spatulate or obovate to oblanceolate, 0.5-5 × 0.3-2 cm, base attenuate, margin entire or remotely serrulate in upper half, apex obtuse to rounded, sometimes acute; lower cauline leaves sessile, oblong to linear-lanceolate, base subclasping; middle and upper cauline leaves 1-5 × 0.1-0.7 cm, apex acute. Capitula terminal, solitary (rarely 2), 3-5(-6.5) cm in diam. Involucres hemispheric, 5-7 mm; phyllaries 2- or 3-seriate, subequal, appressed or often squarrose, oblong-linear, 5-8 × 0.8-1.5 mm, abaxially villosulous, hardened below, leaflike above, apex acute. Ray florets 30-70, blue or lavender to purplish, tube sparsely hairy, lamina 15-20 × 1-2 mm, glabrous, eglandular; disk florets orange, 3.5-4.5 mm, limb funnelform, 2.5-3 mm, proximally hairy, lobes spreading to reflexed, narrowly triangular, 1-1.5 mm, abaxially sparsely hairy. Achenes broadly obovoid, ca. 2 mm, densely strigillose, 2-ribbbed (ribs sparsely strigillose, densely so apically). Pappus 4-seriate, purple-brown to brown, of few bristles; outermost bristles slender, 0.2-0.7 mm; outer bristles slender, 0.7-1 mm; inner bristles 1.2-1.6 mm, acute; innermost bristles 1.5-2 mm, slightly to distinctly clavate. Fl. Jun-Aug, fr. Jul-Sep. 2n = 18*.
Aster tongolensis is frequently cultivated as an ornamental.
● Alpine and subalpine open forests, stream banks, grasslands, boggy margins of lakes, rocky or grassy slopes, pastures, shrub thickets, wet places; 2500-4000 m. S Gansu, Qinghai, NW and SW Sichuan, Xizang, NW Yunnan.