Pacific aster, common California aster
The Pacific states
Between 15 and 40 inches
Grassland, hillsides, disturbed ground, coastal bluffs, saline marshes; up to 1,500 feet
Oblanceolate, stalkless, entire or toothed, up to 7 inches long
Symphyotrichum chilense inhabits lower elevations than many species in this large genus, no higher than 1,500 feet, and is quite common in coastal regions of the Pacific states. Plants produce a small number of stems, which are often purplish around the base, and are mostly hairless but may have a light hair covering towards the tip. Leaves are also hairless; they grow at the base and along the stem, though the former tend to wither by flowering. The inflorescence is an open, branched, terminal cluster. Flowerheads are subtended by a few leafy bracts.
Phyllaries (three to five rows) are oblong to oblanceolate in shape, relatively broad, and angled outwards. Flowerheads have between 15 and 40 white or pale purple ray florets surrounding 35 to 60 yellow to reddish brown disc florets.