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Symphyotrichum (//) is a genus of about 90 species of herbaceous annual and perennial plants in the composite family (Asteraceae) that were formerly treated within the genus Aster. The majority are endemic to North America, but several species also occur in the West Indies, Central and South America, as well as in eastern Eurasia. Many species have been introduced to Europe as garden specimens, most notably the New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) and the New York aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii).
The botanist Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck established this genus in 1833 because he felt that a plant he examined, now thought to be a cultivated variety of New York aster, was sufficiently distinct from the rest of the genus Aster to warrant its own genus. He emphasized the uniqueness of this plant in having its pappus hairs arranged in a coherent, basal ring. This structure is the basis for the scientific name of this genus, which derives from Ancient Greek σύμφυσις (sýmphysis) "growing together" and θρίξ (thríks; stem τριχ- trich-) "hair". Unfortunately, this characteristic ring is not generally shared by most New York aster pappi, nor is it characteristic of any other plants included in the modern concept of Symphyotrichum. According to the rules of the ICN, however, the timing of this genus's establishment gives it precedence over other names.
There are about 90 species, including:
- Symphyotrichum ascendens (Lindl.) G.L.Nesom – western aster, longleaf aster, intermountain aster
- Symphyotrichum campestre (Nutt.) G.L.Nesom – western meadow aster
- Symphyotrichum chilense (Nees) G.L.Nesom – Pacific aster, common California aster
- Symphyotrichum cordifolium (L.) G.L.Nesom – heartleaf aster, common blue wood aster
- Symphyotrichum defoliatum (Parish) G.L.Nesom – San Bernardino aster
- Symphyotrichum depauperatum (Fernald) G.L.Nesom – serpentine aster
- Symphyotrichum dumosum (L.) G.L.Nesom – bushy aster, rice-button aster,
- Symphyotrichum eatonii (A.Gray) G.L.Nesom – Eaton's aster
- Symphyotrichum ericoides (L.) G.L.Nesom – white aster, heath aster
- Symphyotrichum falcatum (Lindl.) G.L.Nesom – white prairie aster, falcate aster, western heath aster
- Symphyotrichum frondosum (Nutt.) G.L.Nesom – short-rayed alkali aster
- Symphyotrichum georgianum (Alexander) G.L.Nesom – Georgia aster
- Symphyotrichum greatae (Parish) G.L.Nesom – Greata's aster
- Symphyotrichum laeve (L.) Á.Löve & D.Löve – smooth aster, smooth leaved aster, glaucous aster
- Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Willd.) G.L.Nesom – panicled aster, tall white aster
- Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (L.) Á.Löve & D.Löve – calico aster
- Symphyotrichum lentum (Greene) G.L.Nesom – Suisun Marsh aster
- Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) G.L.Nesom – New England aster
- Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (L.) G.L.Nesom – New York aster
- Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (Nutt.) G.L.Nesom – aromatic aster
- Symphyotrichum oolentangiense (Riddell) G.L.Nesom – sky-blue aster, azure aster
- Symphyotrichum pilosum (Willd.) G.L.Nesom – hairy aster, frost aster
- Symphyotrichum prenanthoides (Muhl. ex Willd.) G.L.Nesom – crooked-stem aster
- Symphyotrichum puniceum (L.) Á.Löve & D.Löve – purplestem aster, red-stemmed aster, swamp aster
- Symphyotrichum sericeum (Vent.) G.L.Nesom – western silver aster, silky aster
- Symphyotrichum shortii (Lindl.) G.L.Nesom – Short's aster
- Symphyotrichum subulatum (Michx.) G.L.Nesom – eastern annual saltmarsh aster
- Brouillet, Luc; Semple, John C.; Allen, Geraldine A.; Chambers, Kenton L.; Sundberg, Scott D. (2006). "Symphyotrichum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 20. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
- Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-614-2.
- Nees von Esenbeck, Christian Gottfried Daniel (1833). Genera et species asterearum [Genera and Species of the Astereae] (in Latin). Nuremberg: Leonardi Schrag. p. 135. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.46989.
- Nesom, Guy L. (1994). "Review of the taxonomy of Aster sensu lato (Asteraceae: Astereae), emphasizing the New World species". Phytologia. 77 (3): 141–297.
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