Featured Plants - Savannah aster
tall, wiry, graceful perennial herb is one of the
ornaments of wet grassy savannas. Though it has been
reported from as far south as St. Lucie County, it
is most likely to be encountered in the wet
prairies, seepage slopes, and wet flatwoods of the
Panhandle from Wakulla County westward. Its long
curving branches with narrow leaves pressed to the
stem are almost invisible from a short distance
away, making the few large daisy-like heads, with
purple or blue rays and yellow centers, appear to
float above the tan and gold wiregrass and sedges of
the treeless prairie.
is one of the thirty or so species of Aster in
Florida. Like the other plants in the daisy or
sunflower family, all asters have tiny flowers
clustered together in a head that mimics a single
flower. In asters, several rows of overlapping green
bracts or phyllaries surround the bottom of each
head. The "petals" or rays of asters are
white, pink, or purple, never yellow or red. And
finally, a ring of bristles called a pappus tops the
"seeds" or achenes of asters.
chapmanii is set apart from our other asters by its
slender stems as much as 1.5 m tall, few long
upwardly-curving branches, and narrow grass-like
leaves. Its relatively few large flower heads,
arranged in an open, roughly flat-topped
inflorescence, have blue or blue-violet rays as much
as 1.5 cm long.
blooms in late summer and fall, from September to
November. Because of its preference for wet
flatwoods and savannas, Florida classifies it as a
FACW (facultative-wet) species on its official list
of wetland plants.
more information, see pages 277 and 279 in Florida
Wetland Plants: An Identification Manual.