[Asters of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster

Symphyotrichum subspicatum

Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. subspicatum

Flower head of Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi)

The photo above shows a close-up of the inflorescence of Douglas' aster from Dalton Point, western Columbia River Gorge..........October 12, 2006.

Involucral bracts of Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi)The photo at right shows the leafy bracts of the involucre of Douglas' aster from Dalton Point, Columbia River Gorge...........October 12, 2006.
Characteristics:

Douglas' aster is a rhizomatous perennial wildflower with erect, usually unbranched stems to 130 cm high. It is highly variable in appearance and may resemble both leafy aster and Eaton's aster. The lower leaves are oblanceolate, tapering to a winged petiole. The leaves of mid-stem are lance-shaped and range from 7-13 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. The blades are smooth and hairless with toothed margins above mid-blade.

The inflorescence is a cymose panicle with several to many flower heads which are each 2-4 cm wide. The 20-30 rays are violet and about 1 cm long and surround the yellow to reddish-purple disk flowers. The involucre is about 5-6 mm long with linear bracts, the outer bracts sometimes leaf-like at the tip. The bracts loosely overlap and may be pressed down or spreading and green at the tip with yellow to brown bases and hairy margins. Visible with a hand lens, each bract has a thin transparent margin.


Habitat:

Douglas' aster is a wildflower of streambanks and other moist places from low elevations near the seacoast to moderate elevations in mountain woodlands.


Range:

Aster subspicatus is found from coastal Alaska south to coastal California and east to Alberta, Montana, northern Idaho and northeastern Oregon. It is most common west of the Cascade Mts.

In the Columbia River gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 0'-2000' the length of the Gorge.


Stem leaf of Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi)

Upper leaf surface of Douglas' aster from Dalton Point, Columbia River Gorge..........September 9, 2001. Note the short hairs along the margin of the leaf and the few serrations.

Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi) - Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi)

Douglas' aster as seen at left on the cobbly Columbia River shoreline with a young coyote willow (Salix exigua) at the McCord Creek delta.........October 14, 2015. The photo at right shows Douglas' aster blooming in forest clearings along the Pacific Crest Trail near Bonneville Dam, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Trail......September 9, 2018.

Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi) - Involucral bracts of Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi)

The photo above shows the upper stem leaves and flower head (left) and close-up view of the involucral bracts (right) of Douglas' aster as seen from Dalton Pt., the western Columbia River Gorge.........October 12, 2006. Note the broad white margins at the base of each bract, a characteristic of this species.

Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi) - Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi)

The photo at left shows Douglas' aster as seen blooming from the Columbia River shoreline at the Sandy River Delta...........September 13, 2013. The photo at right shows Douglas' aster as seen on cobbly soils along the Columbia River shoreline at Pierce National Wildlife Refuge..........September 27, 2014.

Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi) - Douglas Aster, Douglas' Aster: Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Synonyms: Aster bulteri, Aster douglasii, Aster maccallae, Aster subspicatus, Aster subspicatus var. grayi, Aster subspicatus var. subspicatus, Symphyotrichum subspicatum var. grayi)

Douglas' aster as seen on cobbly soils along the Columbia River shoreline at Dalton Point west of Multhnomah Falls..........September 26, 2015.

Paul Slichter