Herbs & Plants

Aster puniceus

Botanical Name: Aster puniceus
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Astereae
Subtribe: Symphyotrichinae
Genus: Symphyotrichum
Subgenus: Symphyotrichum subg. Symphyotrichum
Section: Symphyotrichum sect. Symphyotrichum
Species: S. puniceum

Synonyms: A.hispidus. Lam.

Common Names: It is commonly known as purplestem aster, red-stalk aster, red-stemmed aster, red-stem aster, and swamp aster. It also has been called early purple aster, cocash, swanweed, and meadow scabish.

Aster puniceus is native to eastern North America. Its range extends from the edges of the Great Plains to the Atlantic coast, and from the Gulf coast of Texas north to southern Ungava Bay in the north of Quebec. It is adventive in Europe.It normally grows in moist soil.Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds.

Aster puniceus is a perennial flowering plant, growing to 1.3 m (4ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is in flower from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Succeeds in most good garden soils, preferring one that is well-drained and moisture retentive. Prefers a sunny position, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers a rich soil, but tolerates poor ones. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. The crushed plant has a smell like juniper berries. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Plants need to be divided every few years, preferably in the spring, in order to keep the plant vigorous. Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Attracts butterflies and moths, it is also a good bee plant providing nectar in autumn.

Seed – surface sow in spring in a cold frame. Do not allow the compost to become dry. Pre-chilling the seed for two weeks can improve germination rates. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whist smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses: The leaves and flowers of asters are edible and are purported to have a number of health benefits.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Aster Plant Uses – Learn About The Edibility Of Aster Flowers

Medicinal Uses:
Symphyotrichum puniceum has been used for medicinal purposes among indigenous people in North America. It has been documented that the Chippewa have smoked the root with tobacco to attract game. Multiple uses have been reported for the Woodland Cree, including as an aid for tooth pain and for healing a woman after childbirth. The Iroquois have used the roots for healing of various ailments including colds, fevers, pneumonia, typhoid, and tuberculosis.

The roots are diaphoretic, emmenagogue and febrifuge. A decoction has been used in the treatment of colds, consumption, typhoid, pneumonia and fevers. A decoction has been used to promote menstruation – this can lead to an abortion. The decoction has also been used to restore a woman to health after giving birth. The chewed root has been applied to an aching tooth to allay the pain.

Other Uses:
Landscape uses: Forest garden, Cottage gardens, Water garden, Wildlife garden, Moist Prairie or Meadow, Perennial borders. Attracts wildlife: Butterfly nectar plant, Butterfly host plants.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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