Doellingeria umbellata (Flat-topped White Aster)
|Also known as:||Flat-top Aster, Parasol Whitetop|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist; fields, edges of woods, bogs, swamps|
|Bloom season:||July - October|
|Plant height:||2 to 7 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Loose to dense, flat, branching clusters up to 10 inches across at the top of the stem. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inches across with 2 to 15 irregularly spaced white petals (ray flowers) and a yellow center disk that turns dull, pale, yellowish tan with age. Light brown stamens project from the center disk flowers. Surrounding the base of the flower are 3 or 4 layers of hairless or short-hairy, awl-shaped bracts. Flower stalks are up to ¾ inch long and typically short-hairy.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are 3 to 6 inches long and to 1 inch wide, lance-elliptic, tapering to a point at both ends, stalkless or nearly so. The edges are toothless but rough from short hairs. Surfaces are hairless to variously hairy, or the lower surface hairy mostly along major veins. Attachment is alternate. Stems are mostly erect, unbranched except in the flowers, hairless to sparsely hairy, usually lined, and sometimes purple.
Fruit is a dry seed with a tuft of whitish hairs to carry it off in the wind.
There are 2 recognized varieties, both of which are found in Minnesota: var. umbellata (formerly known as Aster umbellatus), and var. pubens (formerly known as Aster pubentior). The latter is more common in the state and is distinguished by more densely hairy leaves and flowers with 4 to 7 rays, where the former is more sparsely hairy to hairless and flowers with up to 15 rays.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Flat-topped White Aster plant
- Flat-topped White Aster with Joe-pye weed, Blue Lobelia and False Foxglove
- Flat-topped White Aster plants
- loose flower clusters
- dense, dome-shaped flower clusters
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?