Symphyotrichum novi-belgii is a perennial herb, 20-140 cm tall, colonial from long rhizomes, stems branching, sparsely hairy, if at all.
Leaves mostly along stem, lance-shaped, base lobed, clasping stem, often narrowed near base, margins fringed with hairs, 4-17 cm long, 0.4-2.5 cm wide;
Flower rays blue, 20-50, 0.6-1.4 cm long, disc flowers yellow, bracts of flower heads, green-tipped, hairless, flower stems with tiny leaf-like bracts, July-Oct., insect pollinated.
Fruit dry, 1-seeded, achene, with tuft of hairs (pappus), seeds wind dispersed, eaten by birds and small mammals.
Wetland status: FACW+.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open wet areas, marsh edges.
Notes: Leaves eaten by rabbits and deer Host to larvae of the pearly crescent butterfly, Phycoides tharos (Nymphalidae), (Tallamy 2003; Pyle 1981).