Symphyotrichum molle - (Rydb.) Nesom
Soft Aster
Synonym(s): Aster mollis Rydb.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Symphyotrichum molle (Rydb.) G.L. Nesom (TSN 522225)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.130271
Element Code: PDASTE80Z0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Aster Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Asterales Asteraceae Symphyotrichum
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Concept Reference Code: B99KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Symphyotrichum molle
Taxonomic Comments: Recognized at species level by Kartesz (1994 checklist, 1999). Jones (1984, Madrono 31:113-122) recognized and reinstated at the rank of species; formerly placed under synonomy with A. jessicae, a rare endemic of the Palouse Prairie of Washington and Idaho. In the past "Q" was added to GRANK because much of the existing herbarium material was identified as "Aster mollis?", "Aster cf mollis" or "Aster mollis X A". The situation appears to be the same in the field (Hollis Marriott, 1991). Although hybridization does occur, the species is distinctive enough to warrant recognition (Fertig 1993). Kartesz (1999) places it in the genus Symphyotrichum.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 10Apr1998
Global Status Last Changed: 10Apr1998
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: A Wyoming endemic, known from about 30 occurrences, all but 1 of them in the Bighorn Mountains of the northcentral part of the state. Locally abundant at many sites. 13 of the populations show some evidence of hybridization or introgression with other Aster species.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Montana (S1S3), Wyoming (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Soft aster is a Wyoming endemic restricted to the Bighorn Range (Big Horn, Johnson, Natrona, Sheridan, and Washakie counties) and Cliff Creek/Hoback Canyon area of Sublette County (Fertig et al. 1994). Jones (1984) also reports a specimen of Aster ascendens from Fremont County "with possible influence of A. mollis". Potential habitat may extend into Montana at the far northern end of the Bighorn Range (Crow Indian Reservation).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from 30 occurrences, all but one of which is from the Bighorn Mountains. 13 occurrences show some evidence of hybridization or introgression with other Aster species.

Population Size Comments: Many populations are locally abundant. Population data lacking for most however.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Some occurrences may be threatened by grazing or trampling (Marriott 1992). Other evidence suggests that light grazing and fire may be stimulatory.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Poorly known.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Soft aster is a Wyoming endemic restricted to the Bighorn Range (Big Horn, Johnson, Natrona, Sheridan, and Washakie counties) and Cliff Creek/Hoback Canyon area of Sublette County (Fertig et al. 1994). Jones (1984) also reports a specimen of Aster ascendens from Fremont County "with possible influence of A. mollis". Potential habitat may extend into Montana at the far northern end of the Bighorn Range (Crow Indian Reservation).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States MT, WY

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MT Big Horn (30003)
WY Big Horn (56003), Johnson (56019), Natrona (56025), Sheridan (56033), Sublette (56035)*, Washakie (56043)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Badwater (10080006)+, Nowood (10080008)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010)+, Little Bighorn (10080016)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Crazy Woman (10090205)+, Clear (10090206)+
17 Greys-Hobock (17040103)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb, 3-5 dm tall, with leaves and stems that are covered with soft-downy, grayish hairs. Produces showy flower heads with pink or purple ray flowers surrounding the yellow disk. Blooms July-September.
Habitat Comments: Deep, calcareous soils on sagebrush grasslands, mountain meadows, limestone outcrops, and edges of aspen (Populus tremuloides) or pine woodlands. 1950-2600 m elevation.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Dec1993
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Fertig (rev. Fertig/Maybury 6/96)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
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  • Brouillet, L., J. C. Semple, G. A. Allen, K. L. Chambers, and S. D. Sundberg. 2006. Symphyotrichum. Pages 465-539 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, editor. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 20. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae (in part): Asteraceae part 2. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.

  • Croft, L.K., W.R. Owen, and J.S. Shelly. 1997. Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project Analysis of Vascular Plants. US Forest Service.

  • Dorn, R. D. 2001. Vascular Plants of Wyoming, third edition. Mountain West Publishing, Cheyenne, WY.

  • Evert, E. F. 2010. Vascular Plants of the Greater Yellowstone Area: Annotated Catalog and Atlas. Park Ridge, IL.

  • Fertig, W. 2000. State Species Abstract: Aster mollis. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. Available on the internet at www.uwyo.edu/wyndd.

  • Fertig, W. 1992. Distinguishing Aster mollis from "look-alike" species in the Bighorn Mountains. Letter of December 12 to Michele Girard, ecologist, Bighorn National Forest.

  • Fertig, W. 1992. Distinguishing Aster mollis from "look-alike" species in the Bighorn Mountains. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie. 5 pp.

  • Fertig, W. 1993. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service candidate plant species of Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for Wyoming Weed and Pest Supervisor's meeting in Cody, WY, March 1993.

  • Fertig, W. 1994. Guide to Sensitive Wyoming plants of US Forest Service Region 2 (with emphasis on plants of Bighorn, Medicine Bow, and Shoshone National Forests). Unpublished report prepared as a handout for the TES species identification workshop conducted for US Forest Service Region 2 in Laramie, WY, 11 May 1994.

  • Fertig, W. 1999. Sensitive plant surveys and status of rare plant species on Bridger-Teton National Forest, 1997-1998. Unpublished report prepared for the Bridger-Teton National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Fertig, W. 1999. The status of rare plants in the Bighorn Landscape. Report prepared for The Nature Conservancy Wyoming Field Office by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, Wyoming.

  • Fertig, W. 2000. Rare vascular plant species in the Wyoming portion of the Utah-Wyoming Rocky Mountains Ecoregion. Prepared for the Wyoming Nature Conservancy by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Fertig, W., C. Refsdal, and J. Whipple. 1994. Wyoming Rare Plant Field Guide. Wyoming Rare Plant Technical Committee, Cheyenne, WY.

  • Fertig, W., C. Refsdal, and J. Whipple. 1994. Wyoming rare plant field guide. Wyoming Rare Plant Technical Committee, Cheyenne. No pagination.

  • Girard, M. 1992. Sensitive and Watch Plant Species of the Bighorn National Forest. Bighorn National Forest, 1969 S. Sheridan Ave., Sheridan, WY.

  • Hartman, R. L. and B. E. Nelson. 1993. General floristic/sensitive plant species survey of the Wyoming and Salt River ranges, northern portions, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for Bridger-Teton National Forest by the Rocky Mountain Herbarium, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

  • Hartman, R. L. and B. E. Nelson. 1994. General floristic/sensitive plant species survey of the Wyoming and Salt River ranges, southern portions, Wyoming and concluding remarks on the entire area. Unpublished report prepared for Bridger-Teton National Forest by the Rocky Mountain Herbarium, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

  • Jones, A. G. 1984. Typification of Aster jessicae Piper and reinstatement of A. mollis Rydberg (Asteraceae). Madroņo 31:113-122.

  • Jones, A. G. 1984. Typification of Aster jessicae Piper and reinstatement of A. mollis Rydberg (Asteraceae). Madroņo 31:113-122.

  • Jones, G. P. and W. Fertig. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the Mann Creek potential Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Sheridan County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Marriott, H. J. 1992. Field survey for Aster mollis, Astragalus barrii and Lesquerella arenosa var. argillosa in northeast and central Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bureau of Land Management by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY. 69 pp.

  • Marriott, H. J. 1992. Field survey for Aster mollis, Astragalus barrii and Lesquerella arenosa var. argillosa in northeast and central Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bureau of Land Management by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Neighbours, M. and H. Marriott. 1991. Candidate sensitive plant species, Platte River Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management. Prepared for the BLM by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential Crazy Woman Creek Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Johnson County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential Devil Canyon Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Big Horn County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential Dry Fork Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Sheridan County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential Elephant Head Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Big Horn County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential McLain Lake Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Big Horn and Johnson Counties, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential Pete's Hole Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Big Horn County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential Poison Creek Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Johnson County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W. Fertig, and G. Jones. 1998. Ecological evaluation of the potential Tongue River Research Natural Area within the Bighorn National Forest, Sheridan County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bighorn National Forest by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • Welp, L., W.F. Fertig, G.P. Jones, G.P. Beauvais, and S.M. Ogle. 2000. Fine filter analysis of the Bighorn, Medicine Bow, and Shoshone National Forests in Wyoming. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

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