Climbing Aster, Beach Botany


The Climbing Aster, Symphyotrichum carolinianum, a perennial, is a sprawling woody vine that crawls over other vegetation. It can climb to a height of 10 feet.  Woody, multi stems reach 5 to 10 feet in length. Leaves are arranged as alternate on the stems. Leaf shape is elliptic to lanceolate in shape 2 to 3 inches in length and 1 inch wide. Margins are entire. Foliage is dense.

Flower heads grow out of the leaf axils and are solitary. Ray florets have a slight lavender color and are about ¾ inch in length.There are at least two dozen ray florets  in the corolla. A yellow disk is at the center of the corolla. Flower is fragrant. Fruit is an achene with a couple of flat seed. Blooming occurs in the fall.

Carolinianum is a wetland species that is found in fresh water marshes, ponds and river banks in every County in the state except for the western panhandle. I saw it several times in the Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County. This specimen was found on a bank on the Caloosahatchee river.


Dorothy Rodwell

Photos by James Rodwell