Symphyotrichum georgianum - (Alexander) Nesom
Georgia Aster
Other Common Names: Georgia aster
Synonym(s): Aster georgianus Alexander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Symphyotrichum georgianum (Alexander) G.L. Nesom (TSN 522211)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.155848
Element Code: PDASTE80S0
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 georgianum
Taxonomic Comments: Kartesz (1999) treats as a species in the segregate genus Symphyotrichum. Formerly considered a variety of Aster (=Symphyotrichum) patens by some treatments (e.g., Cronquist 1980); see Jones (1983) for morphological, ecological, and other considerations that warrant treatment as a distinct species.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Apr2010
Global Status Last Changed: 01Apr2010
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: A species of the southeastern U.S. with about 126 populations known extant. Most of these are small, consisting of stands of only 10-100 stems but a few have around 1000 stems. These plants are primarily reproducing non-sexually, by means of rhizomes, and so each population probably represents just a few genotypes. Many populations are vulnerable to accidental destruction from utility and road maintenance activities such as herbicide application, and from road expansion. Other populations are threatened by residential development and/or encroachment of invasive exotic plants. This species has also suffered from fire suppression (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002, USFWS 2010).
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S3), Florida (SU), Georgia (S3), North Carolina (S3), South Carolina (SNR)

Other Statuses

Comments on USESA: In a 12-month petition finding, USFWS (2014) found listing Symphyotrichum georgianum is not warranted at this time.
 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: From southcentral North Carolina south to central Georgia and west to central Alabama; apparently disjunct on the Coastal Plain of southwest Georgia and east panhandle Florida (Weakley 2000).

Remaining populations are in 34 counties in the Carolinas, Alabama, and Georga. Formerly known from approximately 20 additional counties in those states and one county in Florida.

Area of Occupancy: 126-12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Remnant populations are scattered and small: 60 percent are no larger than 10 square meters (USFWS 2003).

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Approximately 126 populations (derived using default 2 km separation distance) in four states (AL, GA, NC, and SC) (based on 2010 NHP data compiled by USFWS).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: 14 EOs with Good Viability in NC; more are present in AL, GA, and SC (2010).

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species has sufferred from fire suppression. Interspecies factors (competition, predation) may also be a factor, as small populations can not compete without management assistance (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002). Remaining populations are adjacent to roads or in utility rights-of-way, or other openings where land management creates conditions similar to those created by natural disturbances. In these locations, the small populations are subject to many threats: invasive species (including kudzu), highway expansion, herbicide application, quarrying, development (USFWS 2003, 2004). Long-term survival may be compromised by genetic depression as each small surviving population may represent a single clone (plants are rhizomatous, reportedly self-sterile, and many populations have fewer than 50 stems). "More utility companies and railroads are shifting to herbicide sparying instead of mowing" for control of vegetation growth (USFWS 2003).

Short-term Trend Comments: Most remaining populations are small with 60% of them no larger than 10 sq. meters and occur on land where the management mimics it natural disturbance such as roads, railroads, utility rights-of-way and other openings. Development, roadside expansion, switch from mowing to herbicides for maintainance, quarry expansion, commercial recreation and kudzu encroachment are reducing the habitat for this species further (USFWS 2003).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: A relict species of post oak savannas that existed in the southeast prior to widespread fire suppression and the extirpation of large native grazing animals (USFWS 2003). Of 126 populations historically known, 34 have apprently been destroyed, and is apparently extirpated from Florida, the former southernmost extent of its range (USFWS, 2004).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Clonal and apparently self-incompatible, with seed production unlikely in the tiny stands (perhaps single clones) that characterize most occurrences of this species (USFWS, 2004).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: From southcentral North Carolina south to central Georgia and west to central Alabama; apparently disjunct on the Coastal Plain of southwest Georgia and east panhandle Florida (Weakley 2000).

Remaining populations are in 34 counties in the Carolinas, Alabama, and Georga. Formerly known from approximately 20 additional counties in those states and one county in Florida.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, GA, NC, SC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Bibb (01007), Blount (01009), Etowah (01055), Jefferson (01073), Shelby (01117), St. Clair (01115), Talladega (01121)*, Tuscaloosa (01125)*
FL Leon (12073)*
GA Banks (13011), Bartow (13015), Carroll (13045), Chattooga (13055), Cherokee (13057), Cobb (13067), Coweta (13077), Dawson (13085)*, DeKalb (13089), Douglas (13097), Elbert (13105), Floyd (13115), Forsyth (13117), Fulton (13121), Gordon (13129), Gwinnett (13135), Habersham (13137), Hall (13139), Haralson (13143), Harris (13145), Heard (13149), Houston (13153), Madison (13195), Mcduffie (13189)*, Murray (13213), Paulding (13223), Pickens (13227), Polk (13233), Rabun (13241), Randolph (13243)*, Richmond (13245)*, Rockdale (13247)*, Stephens (13257), Walker (13295), White (13311), Whitfield (13313)
NC Davidson (37057), Gaston (37071), Lincoln (37109), Mecklenburg (37119), Montgomery (37123), Randolph (37151), Rowan (37159), Stanly (37167), Union (37179)
SC Abbeville (45001), Anderson (45007), Cherokee (45021), Chester (45023), Edgefield (45037), Fairfield (45039), Greenwood (45047), Lancaster (45057), Laurens (45059), McCormick (45065), Oconee (45073), Pickens (45077), Richland (45079), Saluda (45081), Union (45087), York (45091)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Deep (03030003)+, Lower Yadkin (03040103)+, Upper Pee Dee (03040104)+, Rocky, North Carolina, (03040105)+, Lynches (03040202)+, Upper Catawba (03050101)+, South Fork Catawba (03050102)+, Lower Catawba (03050103)+, Wateree (03050104)+, Upper Broad (03050105)+, Lower Broad (03050106)+, Tyger (03050107)+, Enoree (03050108)+, Saluda (03050109)+, Seneca (03060101)+, Tugaloo (03060102)+, Upper Savannah (03060103)+, Broad (03060104)+, Little (03060105)+*, Middle Savannah (03060106)+*, Stevens (03060107)+, Brier (03060108)+*, Upper Oconee (03070101)+, Upper Ocmulgee (03070103)+, Lower Ocmulgee (03070104)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+*, Upper Chattahoochee (03130001)+, Middle Chattahoochee-Lake Harding (03130002)+, Middle Chattahoochee-Walter F. George Reservoir (03130003)+*, Conasauga (03150101)+, Coosawattee (03150102)+, Oostanaula (03150103)+, Etowah (03150104)+, Upper Coosa (03150105)+*, Middle Coosa (03150106)+, Lower Coosa (03150107)+*, Upper Tallapoosa (03150108)+, Cahaba (03150202)+, Mulberry (03160109)+, Locust (03160111)+, Upper Black Warrior (03160112)+*
06 Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb, 4.5-8 dm tall, with dark purple ray flowers surrounding white disk flowers. Flower heads are large (up to 6 cm across). Blooms in early October-mid-November (Weakley 2000).
Diagnostic Characteristics: This species is distinguished by its colonial, rhizomatious habit and large flower heads with dark purple corolla and white disk flowers. Specifically, S. georgianum has long, dark purple ray flowers, as compared to the shorter, lighter purple/blue ray flowers of S. patens. S. georgianum also has white disk flowers fading to light/dull lavender as opposed the the yellow disk flowers fading to dark tan of S. patens and S. grandiflorum. S. georgianum also flowers later (mid Oct. - mid Nov.) than S. patens. S. georgianum is capable of extensive clonal growth/clumping, whereas S. patens grows in small, sparse clumps (of a few stems). Finally, Cronquist (1980) notes that S. georgianum can be distinguished by its involucre up to 12 mm high (as opposed to 5-9 mm high in other taxa of the S. patens group).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Barrens, Forest - Mixed, Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Savanna, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Dry open woods, roadsides, and other openings. Probably a relict species of the post oak (Quercus stellata)-savanna communities that existed in the region prior to fire supression and the eradication of large native grazing animals (Murdock 2001).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Mow or burn to prevent succession and shade but not during the growing season. Protect populations from development, road expansion, road shoulder grading, herbicide treatments, invasive species encroachment, and quarry expansion (USFS 2003).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: An A-ranked occurrence of Symphiotrichum georgianum should have more than 500 stems and occur in 5 or more acres of open to semi-open piedmont woodland kept open or capable of being kept open by fire, edaphic conditions, or other disturbance.
Good Viability: A B-ranked occurrence of Symphiotrichum georgianum should have between 200 and 500 stems and occur in 1 or more acres of open to semi open piedmont woodland kept open or capable of being kept open by fire, edaphic conditions, or other disturbance.
Fair Viability: A C-ranked occurrence of Symphiotrichum georgianum should have between 100 and 200 stems occurring in less than 1 acre of open to semi-open piedmont woodland. Occurrences within right-of-ways should be surrounded by closed to semi-open woodland.
Poor Viability: A D-ranked population of Symphiotrichum georgianum should have fewer than 100 stems occurring in a piedmont woodland right-of-way that is isolated by surrounding development or agriculture.
Justification: The rank specifications for Symphiotrichum georgianum are based on current populations and expert opinion.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 13Jan2005
Author: Amoroso
Notes: (1993)

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: 01Feb1994
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Mary J. Russo, rev. Patrick/Allison/Maybury (1996), rev. Maybury (2002), rev. M. Buchanan (2010)

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
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  • Cronquist, A. 1980. Vascular flora of the southeastern United States. Vol. 1. Asteraceae. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 261 pp.

  • Gulf South Research Center Corporation (GSRC). No date. Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Plant Species of the Southeastern United States. Georgia Aster, Symphyotrichum georgianum. Baton Rouge, LA. http://www.gsrcorp.com/tes/rare_plants.html (accessed August 2004).

  • Jones, . R. L. 1983. A systematic study of Aster section Patentes (Asteraceae). Sida 10:41-81.

  • Jones, R.L. 1992c. Additional studies of Aster georgianus, A. patens, and A. phlogifolius (Asteraceae). Sida 15(2): 305-315.

  • 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.

  • Matthews, J.F. 1993. Status survey of Aster georgianus Alexander. Prepared under work order NCPCP-92-18, North Carolina Department of Agriculture Plant Conservation Program. Univ. North Carolina, Charlotte.

  • Murdock, N. 2001. Candidate and listing priority assignment form: Aster georgianus. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, North Carolina Field Office.

  • Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of the southeastern flora. Two volumes. Hafner Publishing Company, New York.

  • Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project. 2002. A partnership between the U.S. Forest Service-Region 8, Natural Heritage Programs in the Southeast, NatureServe, and independent scientists to develop and review data on 1300+ regionally and locally rare species in the Southern Appalachian and Alabama region. Database (Access 97) provided to the U.S. Forest Service by NatureServe, Durham, North Carolina.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2004. Species assessment and listing priority assignment form. Symphyotrichum goergianum. 9 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2003. Candidate Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Form for Aster georgianus. USFWS.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2014k. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; 12-month finding on a petition to list Symphyotrichum georgianum as an endangered or threatened plant. Federal Register 79(181):56041-56047.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2014. 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List Symphyotrichum georgianum as an Endangered or Threatened Species. Federal Register 79(181): 56041-56047.

  • Weakley, A.S. 2000. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia: working draft of May 15, 2000. Unpublished draft, The Nature Conservancy, Southern Resource Office.

  • Weakley, A.S. 2002. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia: working draft of July 19, 2002. Unpublished draft, UNC Herbarium, NC Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Weakley, Alan S.  2015.  Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States.  Unpublished mss. available as .pdf from the Herbarium, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  1320 pp.

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