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Eurybia spectabilis (Aiton) G.L. Nesom

Showy aster

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderAsteralesFlowering plants with a central disk flower and surrounding petals, like daisies
FamilyAsteraceaeThe aster family, which also includes daisies and sunflowers; from the Greek ἀστήρ, “star,” for the star-shaped flowers
GenusEurybiaFrom the Greek eurybies or eurybia, “far and wide, wide spreading”

About plant names...

Showy aster is native to North America, but it is now threatened over much of its range.

Identification: Plants are 4-35" (10-90 cm) tall, with stiff stems and sticky hairs, often branching toward the top. Leaves are alternate, unlobed, mostly toothless, rough or hairless, and ⅜-6" (1-16 cm) × ⅛-1½" (3-40 mm). In botany-speak, their shapes are lanceolate or elliptic to ovate- or obovate-elliptic or spatulate. This translates roughly to rounded or spoon-shaped. Leaves may be attached directly to the stem (sessile), or on short winged petioles. Flowerheads are a flat-topped corymb. Individual flowers are up to 1½" (3.8 cm) across, with 15-35 blue to purple rays and 25-55 tiny flowers in the central disc.

See our aster comparison table here. Or check Arieh Tel's well-researched and informative aster comparison site.

Online References:


The New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

The Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center



Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 18

Aster commixtus (Nees) Kuntze

Aster smallii Alexander

Aster spectabilis Aiton

Aster spectabilis Aiton var. cinerascens S.F. Blake

Aster spectabilis Aiton var. suffultus Fernald

Eurybia commixta Nees


Eurybia spectabilis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Eurybia spectabilis (showy aster)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 6" (16 × 14 cm)

Eurybia spectabilis (showy aster)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Eurybia spectabilis (showy aster)

9/25/2012 · Beaver Brook, Hollis, New Hamp­shire
≈ 4 × 3½" (10 × 9.2 cm) ID is uncertain


About this map...