Solidago ptarmicoides
Common Name: prairie aster
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: White with pale yellow centers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 3-8. Prefers full sun and dry sandy or gravelly calcareous soils. Tolerates some light shade. Drought tolerant. Tolerates moist loams as long as well-drained. Removal of flower heads prior to ripening of seed, if practicable, will help prevent seed dispersal. Stems may be cut to the ground in late fall.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Solidago ptarmicoides, commonly known as upland white goldenrod or upland white aster, is an herbaceous perennial that typically grows to 12-24” tall. It is native to dry, sandy, usually calcareous soils, cracks in rocks, limestone pavements, rocky outcrops, grassy slopes and prairies from Quebec to Saskatchewan south to Georgia, Arkansas, and Colorado.

This plant was originally classified as Aster ptarmicoides, but was subsequently reclassified as Solidago ptarmicoides. Notwithstanding its aster-like white ray petals (most goldenrods have yellow ray petals), this plant has goldenrod-like foliage and is known to hybridize in the wild with other goldenrods but not with other asters.

After flowering, seed heads containing small clusters of seed with white fluff form (goldfinches love to eat the seed). Harvest promptly if seed is to be saved.

Narrow pointed green leaves have smooth or rough textures. Lower leaves (to 7” long) are lanceolate-oval and stalked. Upper leaves are smaller, narrower, and widely spaced, eventually becoming stalkless near the top. Daisy-like flowers in open, flat-topped, corymbiform clusters (each cluster typically having 3 to 25 but sometimes as many as 50 flowers) bloom late summer to fall. Each flower has between 10-20 white rays and creamy white to pale yellow center disks. This is a low mounded plant with narrow, 6-8” long, pointed, lanceolate leaves, and flat clusters of 1/2” daisy-like flowers having white rays and white to pale yellow center disks. Flowers bloom August – October.

Genus name comes from the Latin words solidus meaning whole and ago meaning to make in reference to the medicinal healing properties of some species plants.

Specific epithet means causes sneezing as memorialized by the sometimes used common name of sneezewort aster for this species.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to rust, powdery mildew and leaf spot. Root rot may occur in overly-moist or poorly-drained soils. Potential insect pests include several different types of beetles, aphids and gall-forming insects.

Garden Uses

Plants grow as somewhat unexceptional mounds of green foliage until the flowers explode into bloom in late summer. Naturalize in dry locations.