Native Plant of the Week: Heart-Leaved Aster ~ Symphyotrichum cordifolium

Heart-Leaved Aster ~ Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Aster cordifolius)

Heart-Leaved Aster is a very versatile native perennial. It can withstand well drained, dry soils in partial shade as well as full sun. One of the earlier flowering Asters, it is an important fall plant for pollinators preparing to overwinter.

As the common name suggests, the leaves are heart shaped with a short stalk.

Flower color can range from a pale blue-white to medium blue-purple. It is a tall native reaching heights of 4 feet in richer, moister soils.
The flowers are arranged in branched clusters, forming a slightly cone-shaped flowerhead.

You will find Heart-Leaved Aster in woodland openings or partially shaded understories, as well as in dry, sunny open sites. It will reseed heavily if planted in rich soils.

It is an excellent native perennial to utilize in woodlands after removing an understory of invasive European Buckthorn. It helps keep out other invasive species such as Garlic Mustard from encroaching into the void.

Fall emerging Mining Bees (Andrena spp.) love to visit the flowers, along with Bumble Bees.

Heart-Leaved Aster is native to eastern North America, see map below for range.
Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).
North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.