Symphyotrichum undulatum - (L.) Nesom
Wavyleaf Aster
Other English Common Names: Wavyleaf American-aster
Other Common Names: wavyleaf aster
Synonym(s): Aster undulatus L.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Symphyotrichum undulatum (L.) G.L. Nesom (TSN 522257)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147081
Element Code: PDASTE8350
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 undulatum
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 25Jul2016
Global Status Last Changed: 03Feb1994
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread and common throughout much of eastern North America. Rare on the western and northern periphery of its range. Aster undulatus is found throughout the central and eastern United States (east of and including Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, and Michigan) and southeastern Canada (Quebec and Nova Scotia). Aster undulatus is an inhabitant of dry, open, sandy and rocky woodlands and open clearings throughout eastern and central North America.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N2 (07Sep2017)

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 (SNR), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (S4), District of Columbia (SNR), Florida (SNR), Georgia (SNR), Illinois (S1), Indiana (S3), Kentucky (SNR), Louisiana (SNR), Maine (SNR), Maryland (SNR), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNR), Mississippi (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (S5), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (SNR), Rhode Island (SNR), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (S4S5), West Virginia (S5)
Canada Nova Scotia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Aster undulatus is found throughout the central and eastern United States (east of and including Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, and Michigan) and southeastern Canada (Quebec and Nova Scotia).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: The species is abundant throughout much of eastern North America.

Population Size Comments: A widespread and common species throughout much of eastern North America. The clonal nature of this species may make it difficult to assess population size.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The loss of the natural fire regime throughout the range of this species has resulted in the loss of open woodland and other suitable habitat for Aster undulatus. As a result, habitats have grown closed. Habitat succession and encroachment of woody plants could eliminate populations of A. undulatus through competition and shading (Homoya 1992). Any other changes to the habitat away from the dry, open, and well-drained characteristics that are needed by this species are a threat.

Although light levels of grazing may serve to maintain the open character of woodlands, excessive grazing by livestock is a threat. Physical disturbance and soil compaction will likely eliminate populations and degrade or destroy habitat (Popp 1993).

Urbanization and other developmental activities (e.g., agricultural cultivation) may cause the loss of suitable habitat (Anglin 1993, Popp 1993).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Trends within the species are poorly known. Because Aster undulatus is relatively common within the eastern portion of its range, it has not been tracked to any great degree. Undoubtedly, habitat conversion and lack of management have led to a continued decrease in the species, but its status remains secure.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Susceptible to heavy grazing.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Aster undulatus is found throughout the central and eastern United States (east of and including Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, and Michigan) and southeastern Canada (Quebec and Nova Scotia).

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, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV
Canada NS

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Wavy-leaved aster. Herbaceous, rhizomatous perennial, 3-16dm tall; stems pubescent; lower leaves heart-shaped with serrate margins, petioles flared at base and clasping; upper stem leaves ovate-lanceolate; inflorescence open and spreading, heads with 10-20 ray flowers pale blue or pink or violet-blue.
Technical Description: Plants with a branched caudex or short rhizomes; stems 3-12 dm tall, densely pubescent with short, spreading hairs, varying to occasionally subglabrous below the inflorescence. Leaves entire or toothed, scabrous to glabrous above, usually shorter and rather loosely hairy beneath, at least the lower ones cordate or subcordate at the base and petioled, lance-ovate to ovate, 3.5-14 x 1.5-7 cm, those above extremely variable in size and shape, but always at least some of them either sessile or cordate-clasping or with the petiole enlarged and auriculate-clasping at the base. Inflorescence open, paniculiform, the branches and mostly well-developed peduncles more spreading and bracteate; involucre 4-7 mm high, usually minutely puberulent, its bracts imbricate, sharply acute or acuminate, sometimes very slender, more often a little wider as in A. drummondii, often minutely purple-tipped; rays 10-20, blue or lilac. Achenes minutely hairy at least above. (Cronquist 1980).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Aster undulatus may be distinguished from the similar-appearing A. anomalus by using several characters. Aster anomalus has stouter rhizomes, up to twice as many rays (20-40) which are bright blue, thicker leaves and reflexed, green-tipped bracts (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).
Habitat Comments: Aster undulatus is an inhabitant of dry, open, sandy and rocky woodlands and open clearings throughout eastern and central North America (Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Mohlenbrock 1975, Peterson and McKenny 1968, Rickett 1963, Gleason 1952, Small 1933).

A collection of A. undulatus from Alabama lists habitat as dry woods and dry, open places (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

In Delaware, A. undulatus is common, occurring in dry woods throughout the Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic regions (McAvoy 1993).

Florida habitats include waste places with poor soil (Anglin 1993) and high pine-oak woods (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

A collection from Georgia listed habitat as being dry woods near the Chattahoochee River (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

Occupied habitat in Illinois consists of dry, open woods with thin soils over sandstone, open sandstone slopes and outcrops (Illinois Natural Heritage Division 1992, Mohlenbrock 1975).

In Indiana, A. undulatus habitat consists of dry, rocky woodlands and barrens, as well as high, open ridges and high, wooded banks (Homoya 1992, Deam 1940, University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)). Populations typically occur in association with calcareous substrates, but acidic sites are also known (Homoya 1992).

Kentucky populations of A. undulatus are known from wooded banks, dry-mesic woodlands and woodland edges throughout much of the state. A 1942 collection from McCreary County listed the species as being common in open hardwoods and burned over areas (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

In Maine, a collection of A. undulatus was made from a dry roadside (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

In Maryland, habitat includes the border of woods, clearings in rich woods, dry woods and sandy woodland borders (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

Populations in New Hampshire are known from sandy, open woods and dry shaded slopes (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

New Jersey collection labels list habitat as dry soil and woods. One collection noted the encroachment of the species along railroad tracks (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

Collections of plants from New York suggest edges of thickets, sandy barrens, dry sandy fields, dry hilly woods and hills as occupied habitats (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

In North Carolina, A. undulatus is fairly ubiquitous in dry to mesic forests, open woodlands and disturbed sites (roadsides along woods, etc.) (Weakley 1993, University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)). Sometimes it occurs in fire-maintained habitats, such as longleaf pine/turkey oak sandhills (Weakley 1993).

In Nova Scotia, A. undulatus habitat includes dry, open woods and thickets and is often found invading old fields (Maher et al. 1978, Roland and Smith 1969).

Aster undulatus is one of the most common asters in eastern Ohio, with numerous extensive populations (Cusick 1993). Within the state it occupies dry, open woods (mixed oak, oak-pine or other woodland communities) and thickets. These sites are well-drained and often acidic (Cusick 1993, Fisher 1988).

One doubtful record of the species is known from Ontario. Its habitat was described as dry, sandy woodlands (Semple et al. 1988, Argus et al. 1982-1987).

In Pennsylvania, A. undulatus is a common species, found in dry, well-drained, open woodlands, woods borders, scrub oak barrens and similar habitats (Kunsman 1993, Wiegman 1993, University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)). Associated plant species include Acer rubrum, Carya spp., Gaylussacia baccata, Hamamelis spp., Kalmia latifolia, Melampyrum lineare, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus rigida, P. virginiana, Quercus ilicifolia, Solidago juncea, S. nemoralis and Vaccinium spp. (Kunsman 1993).

South Carolina habitat has been described as oak-hickory forest (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

The habitat in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is submesic to subxeric woods at low to mid elevations (Rock 1992). Collections of the species at the University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN) list habitat within the state as dry, rocky woods and roadsides in forested and agricultural areas.

In Vermont, the habitat for this species is dry fields and large openings in dry woods (Popp 1993).

West Virginia habitats include open woods (University of Minnesota Herbarium (MIN)).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Habitats of A. undulatus need to be actively managed by using prescribed burning and brush cutting to control the encroachment and succession of woody plants. This would maintain the open condition required for the species to thrive. Populations need to be protected from grazing animals, which cause compaction of soil and trampling of plants. Habitats need to be protected from urbanization and various forms of development so that they will not be lost. Monitoring should be used to track the specific management concerns relevant to A. undulatus. Research should focus on gathering additional facts relating to habitat, associated species, general ecology, threats, population trends and the most appropriate management practices.
Restoration Potential: Restoration via rootstalk or direct seeding is likely to be highly successful in restoration efforts. In the area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Meredith Bradford-Clebsch grows A. undulatus for distribution as part of a native plant business (Rock 1992). Successful reintroduction will depend heavily on availability and maintenance of open woodland habitat. Habitats that have undergone woody plant succession could be restored through selective thinning and maintained long-term by implementing prescribed burning or other canopy-opening activities.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Preserve designs should account for the implementation of a burning regime required in order to restore and maintain suitable habitat. Preserves and sufficient buffer should be large enough to conduct this type of management activity, make accommodations for smoke drift and reduce encroachment of housing developments onto adjoining property. Additionally, large preserve size allows for a matrix of habitat types and increases the long-term survival potential of a population.
Management Requirements: Management should maintain the open character of woodlands through prescribed fire or physical removal of encroaching trees and shrubs. Disturbance (perhaps fire) seems to be a requirement for this species at some sites (Kunsman 1993). If prescribed burning is utilized, preserves should be divided into units to be burned on an alternating basis to provide sufficient habitat for pollinating insects and others plants and animals associated with this habitat.

Habitats should be protected from excessive grazing and other detrimental forces (e.g., agricultural conversion, urbanization).

Monitoring Requirements: Where rare, populations should be monitored on a regular basis to record its status with respect to on-going management activities. Monitoring programs should track the number of individuals present within populations (or area of coverage), flowering, seed production and establishment. Monitoring of the quality of habitat should also be initiated. Where A. undulatus is common, monitoring of the woodland community may provide information on the status of the species under varying management regimes or habitat conditions. The tracking of threats to populations should also be an integral portion of any monitoring activity.

Management Programs: No management programs are in place exclusively for A. undulatus. Because A. undulatus is relatively common throughout much of its range, management activities have rarely addressed the specific needs of this species. However, prescribed burn programs on state, federal or private preserves throughout central and eastern United States likely benefit the species.
Monitoring Programs: There are no known regular monitoring programs in effect for Aster undulatus.
Management Research Programs: To date, no management research programs are known to exist for A. undulatus.
Additional topics: Over the years, Aster undulatus has held the following synonyms: A. claviger, A. corrigiatus, A. gracilescens, A. loriformis, A. sylvestris, A. triangularis and A. truellius. Additional common names include clasping heart-leaved aster (Gleason and Cronquist 1991) and wavyleaf aster (Deam 1940).

Range distribution maps of A. undulatus can be found in the following sources: Indiana (Deam 1940); Ontario (Semple and Heard 1987, Argus et al. 1982-1987); New York (New York Flora Association 1990); North America (Argus et al. 1982-1987); Ohio (Fisher 1988).

Illustrations of the species can be found in: Semple and Heard 1987, Peterson and McKenny 1968, Gleason 1952.
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: 03Feb1994
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Ostlie, W. R. (MRO), 1998 update-S.L.Neid, MRO
Management Information Edition Date: 15Sep1993
Management Information Edition Author: AMBROSE, DONN M. OSTLIE, WAYNE R. PENSKAR, MICHAEL R. SCHUEN, DAVID WALTER
Management Information Acknowledgments: We are indebted to all the botanists, ecologists, information managers and others who took the time to provide the information necessary for the preparation of this and many other Element Stewardship Abstracts.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Sep1993
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): AMBROSE, DONN M.; OSTLIE, WAYNE R.; PENSKAR, MICHAEL R.; AND SCHUEN, DAVID WALTER ??

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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  • Argus, G.W., K.M. Pryer, D.J. White, and C.J. Keddy. 1982-1987. Atlas of the Rare Vascular Plants of Ontario. Parts 1-4. Botany Divison, National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa, Ontario.

  • Cronquist, A. 1980. Vascular flora of the southeastern United States. Volume I Asteraceae. Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 261 p.

  • Deam, C. C. 1940. Flora of Indiana. Division of Forestry, Dept. of Conservation, Indianapolis, Indiana. 1236 pp.

  • Fisher, T.R. 1988. The dicotyledonae of Ohio: Asteraceae. Ohio State University Press, Columbus.

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. The new Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 3 volumes. Hafner Press, New York. 1732 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Jones, A.G. 1989. ASTER and BRACHYACTIS in Illinois. Ill. Nat. Hist. Surv. Bull. 34:139-194.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1993. Species distribution data for vascular plants of 70 geographical areas, from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, July, 1993.

  • 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.

  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. 1975. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Southern Illinois University Press. 494 pp.

  • Mohlenbrock, R.H., and D.M. Ladd. 1978. Distribution of Illinois vascular plants. Southern Illinois Univ. Press, Carbondale, IL. 282 pp.

  • New York Flora Association. 1990. Preliminary vouchered atlas of New York State flora. Edition 1. New York State Museum Institute, Albany. 496 pp.

  • Peterson, R. T., and M. McKenny. 1968. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and Northcentral North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 393 pp. + plates.

  • Rickett, H. W. 1963. The New Field Book of American Wild Flowers. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York. 392 pp. + plates.

  • Roland, A.E. and E.C. Smith. 1983. The flora of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax.

  • Roland, A.E., and E.C. Smith. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, NS.

  • Semple, J.C. and S.B. Heard. 1987. The asters of Ontario: Aster L. and Virgulus Raf. (Compositae: Asteraceae). Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Ontario.

  • Semple, J.C., J.G. Chmielewski, and C.C. Chinnappa. 1983. Chromosome number determinations in ASTER L. (Compositae) with comments on cytogeography, phylogeny and chromosome morphology. Am. J. Bot. 70(10):1432-1443.

  • Semple, J.C., S.B. Heard and C. Leeder. 1988a. A multivariate morphometric study and revision of ASTER subg. DOELLINGERIA sect. TRIPLOPAPPUS (Compositae: Astereae): The ASTER UMBELLATUS complex. Canadian J. Botany 69: 256-276.

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

  • 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.

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