Symphyotrichum dumosum is a perennial 30-100 cm tall, somewhat colonial from creeping rhizomes.
Leaves alternate, mostly stalkless, larger stems leaves linear to lance-shaped 3-11 cm long, 0.3-1 cm wide, leaves of branches much smaller, becoming small numerous, oblong bracts on flowering branches.
Flowers in small, daisy-like heads, rays pale lavender, bluish or white, 13-30, 0.5-0.9 cm long, disk flowers pale yellow to brownish, heads numerous, about 0.5 cm tall, basal bracts overlapping (see Asteraceae), tips green, the outermost merging with bracts of flower stalks, those to 2 cm long (or more); blooming and fruiting Aug.-Oct.
Fruit dry, 1-seeded, achene, with tuft of hairs (pappus), wind dispersed.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Dry to moist sandy habitats, thickets. A coastal plain species.
Notes: Host to larvae of the pearly crescent butterfly, Phycoides tharos (Nymphalidae), (Tallamy 2003; Pyle 1981).