New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae Asteraceae

Growth habit


Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region, VT to AL, West to ND, WY, and NM


A 2-6' tall aster with large pink to violet-purple flowers and aromatic foliage.
Light: sun or part sun
Moisture and Soil: medium to moist soil


Seed Treatment and Storage: store seed cool & dry; cold/moist stratify OR sow at 70 deg. F.

Biocultural value

Iroquois alleviated fevers by drinking a strong tea made with the dried roots and leaves. The dried roots of this and other species were smoked in pipes to attract game.
The Haudenosaunee and Cherokee used a New England Aster infusion to treat fevers. The Meskwaki and Potawatomi burned a smudge of the plant to revive unconscious patients. The Chippewa smoked the roots in pipes to attract game.

Wildlife value

New England aster is a larval host plant for the pearl crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos) and the Canadian conia moth (Sonia canadana). A specialist mining bee, Andrena simplex, collects pollen only from New England aster and related plants in the Asteraceae. Additional floral visitors include small carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.), bumble bees (Bombus spp.), long-horned bees (Melissodes spp.), cuckoo bees (Triepeolus spp.). and green sweat bees (Agapostemon spp.). Other wildlife use asters to a limited degree. Ruffed grouse, wild turkey, and tree sparrows eat the leaves and/or seeds, as do mammals like chipmunks, white-footed mice and white-tailed deer.




Mundy Wildflower Garden, Robison Herb Garden, Coy Glen, Edwards Lake Cliffs Preserve, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog, Salt Road Fen, Ringwood Ponds, South Hill Swamp

Source of plant

Krissy Boys, Gradina Botanica A Institutului Agronomic


Perennial reaching 6 1/2' in height, from a woody root crown or thick rhizome, sometimes creeping. Stems clustered, the upper part much-branched, hairy, glandular, the lower leaves early deciduous, the others sessile and auriculate-clasping, lanceolate, to 5" long, entire, scabrous, or with stiff hairs above, and softer hairs beneath. Flowers heads to 2" across, crowded towards the ends of the branches in corymbose clusters, ray flowers usually deep violet-purple, but variable.

USDA Hardiness Zone


Special characteristics

medicinal/pharmaceutical, other ethnobotanical uses