White heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides (L.) G.L. Nesom var. ericoides [previously Aster ericoides])
 
 
 
White heath asters are part of the Aster family (Asteraceae).  These are low, bushy-branched asters up to 3 feet tall, with very leafy branches.  Leaves are alternate, small, narrow, and pointed.  Flower heads are numerous on the upper lengths of branches, with each head on a short stalk.  Flower heads are usually about 1/2 inch wide, with up to 20 white, petal-like ray flowers surrounding a small yellow disk.

This plant blooms in midsummer to fall and is common in upland prairies and occasional in pastures and old fields.  It is usually a colonial plant with numerous stems growing together.  The larger stem leaves often fall off before flowering, leaving a bushy headed plant with abundant tiny leaves, white flowers, and a bare lower stem.

 

 

Additional information about this plant may be found at the USDA PLANTS Database:

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SYERE