[Asters of Mt. Adams Country]

Cascade Aster

Eucephalus ledophylllus

Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus

Cascade aster from the Shorthorn Trail, Mt. Adams Wilderness..........August 20, 1998.

The photo at right shows the involucre of cascade aster as seen on steep south-facing slopes to the west of Little Mt. Adams on the southeastern side of Mt. Adams.........September 8, 2001.
Characteristics:

Cascade aster is a pretty perennial wildflower with erect stems from 30-60 cm high. The upper stems are noticeably leafy while those of the lower stems are much reduced and scalelike. The upper leaves are largely uniform in size and shape and may be lanceolate or broadly elliptical in shape. The margins are generally entire with the bases sessile. The leaves vary from 3-7 cm long and 5-20 mm wide with a glabrous or slightly hairy upper surface and the lower surface covered with a fair accumulation of dense gray and cotton-like hairs.

The inflorescence consists of one to several (usual) flower heads which measure from 2.5-4 cm wide. If several to many flowers are present, the inflorescence is a corymb or raceme. The 6-20 pink to purplish rays surround a small, yellowish central disk. The rays vary in length from 12-20 mm long. The involucre is 7-11 mm high with 4-5 rows of narrow and sharp-pointed bracts. The midvein of each bract is evident or may be slightly keeled and each bracts is greenish above or may have purplish edges. The bracts may be finely glandular.

The relatively low number of wide rays, the lack of large leaves on the lower stems, and the fat, ovate leaves with gray-haired ventral surfaces are keys to identifying this species.


Habitat:

Cascade aster is a wildflower of open forests and meadows below timberline. It is more common in drier conditions than some other meadow asters which need more moisture.


Range:

Aster ledophyllus is found in the Cascade Mts. from northern Washington to southern Oregon.


Dorsal leaf surface of cascade aster, Mt. Adams.......September 8, 2001.

Ventral leaf surface of cascade aster, Mt. Adams........September 8, 2001. Note the white-woolly hairs covering the lower surface.

Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus) - Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus)

Cascade aster blooming along the Round the Mountain Trail #9 in Bird Creek Meadows, southeast side of Mount Adams..........August 13, 2013.

Mature seedheads of Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus)

Meadows of mature seed heads of Cascade aster as seen amongst burnt snags of the Cascade Complex fire adjacent to Horseshoe Meadows, Mount Adams Wilderness...........October 5, 2014.

Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus)

Cascade aster blooming along the Divide Camp Trail # 112, Mt. Adams Wilderness........August 6, 2017.

Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus) - Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus)

Cascade aster in bloom along the Round the Mountain Trail #9 west of the Aiken Lava Flow, Mt. Adams Wilderness........August 13, 2017.

Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus)

Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus) - Cascade Aster: Eucephalus ledophylllus (Synonyms: Aster ledophyllus, Aster ledophyllus var. covillei, Aster ledophyllus var. ledophyllus, Eucephalus ledophyllus vr. covillei, Eucephalus ledophyllus var. ledophyllus)

Cascade asters blooming along the South Climb Trail #183, Mt. Adams Wilderness, about half mile uphill from the Cold Springs trailhead.......August 30, 2018.

Flower head of cascade aster, Mt. Adams........September 8, 2001.

Lower stem leaves of cascade aster as seen on steep south-facing slopes just west of Little Mt. Adams, Mt. Adams........September 8, 2001. Note that at flowering time they are withering.

Paul Slichter