Short Rayed Alkali Aster
Aster frondosus (Nutt.) T. & G.
A small annual with very short inconspicuous ray flowers arranged in an open panicle or a terminal spike. The small flower heads are 5-9 mm high with leafy bracts. The pinkish rays are very short and narrow. Usually many braches at the top and may vary from 1 to 3 inches in height. The herbage generally lacks glands or hairs, although the leaf margins may be lined with very small hairs. The leaves are linear, growing up to 6 cm long and 1 cm wide. The leaves tend to be fleshy in cross section with the lower leaves with short petioles and the mid and upper leaves sessile or subpetiolate. They are rarely longer than 2 mm long. It flowers from the latter part of June through much of August. Grows in moist, usually saline ground, often along the shores of lakes or ponds or in vernally moist, alkaline bottoms. Nuttall reported finding this plant in the Rocky Mountains, near Lewis' River of the Shoshone. The short rayed alkali aster is found from central Washington south through and eastward through southern Idaho to Wyoming.
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