Boltonia asteroides (False Aster)
|Also known as:||White Doll's Eyes, White Doll's Daisy|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist soil; floodplains, shorelines, wet fields, thickets|
|Bloom season:||July - October|
|Plant height:||3 to 6 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: OBL NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, lance-elliptic, up to 6 inches long, to ¾ inch wide, toothless and hairless, tapering to a blunt tip and tapered stalk at the base, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. Stems and leaves are smooth with a whitish, waxy surface. Multiple stems, tall and slender, arise from the underground root-like branches (rhizomes), becoming heavily branched in the flower cluster.
The flower produces a small nondescript seed head; the fine seed is nearly plumeless.
False Aster is most commonly found in moist habitats along streams and lake shores. The large showy clouds of flowers do not become apparent until late into August, continuing into the fall. It will perform well in the home garden though the root system can be aggressive and require periodic containment weeding. It is distinguished from other daisy-like flowers by the relatively large button-like disk in the center of the flower, and the narrow bracts that resemble one of the fleabanes more than other asters. There are 2 varieties in Minnesota: var. recognita and var. latisquama. As far as we can determine, the subtle differences are in the floral bracts.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County, and Lilydale Park, St. Paul. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?