Plants and Animals

Symphyotrichum sericeum Western silvery aster

species photo
Kim A. Chapman
species photo
Brad Slaughter
species photo
Bradford S. Slaughter

Key Characteristics

Perennial forb of dry prairies; leaves sessile with numerous fine silvery, silky hairs; flowers purple.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Allegan12014
Kalamazoo11936
Kent11896
Newaygo52013
St. Joseph21936
Van Buren12009

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Found in openings within oak-pine barrens, often in bowl prairies, dry banks, and old fields.

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Black oak, white oak, northern pin oak, red pine, jack pine, prairie willow, sand cherry, prairie heart leaved aster, common ragweed, prairie alum root, black-eyed Susan, big bluestem, little bluestem, Pennsylvania, tower mustard, whorled milkweed, Ohio horse mint, old field balsam, hairy hawkweed, dwarf dandelion, rough blazing star, cylindrical blazing star, blue toadflax, wild lupine, horsemint, racemed milkwort, panic grass, and Venus looking glass.

Management Recommendations

The habitat of this species has been severely degraded and diminished. Conservation and restoration of native prairie remnants is necessary. This species requires natural disturbances associated with barrens and grassland habitat such as prescribed fire and brush removal.

Survey Methods

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of August to fourth week of October

References

Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Antonio, T.M. and S. Masi. 2001.The Sunflower Family in the Upper Midwest. A Photographic Guide to the Asteraceae in Illinois, Indianan, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 421pp.
  • Fisher, T.R. 1988. The Dicotyledoneae of Ohio. Part 3. Asteraceae. Ohio State University Press, Columbus. 280pp.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2006. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 20: Magnoliophyta: Asteridae (in part): Asteraceae, part 2. Oxford University Press, New York. 666pp.
  • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
  • Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
  • Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
  • Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
  • Voss, E.G. 1996. Michigan Flora. Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae-Compositae). Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 622pp.