Georgia Aster

Symphyotrichum georgianum

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Background Information

-Description

The Georgia aster has big flower heads, 5 cm across, with dark purple rays encircling white to lavender disk flowers.

The aster flowers from October to November.

-Habitat:

The Georgia aster lives in woodlands or piedmont prairies dominated by native plants, with acidic soils that vary from sand to heavy clay. They rely upon sunlight and don't survive as well shaded by trees, although they compete well for resources. It is found in five counties in Alabama, 15 in Georgia,

nine in North Carolina, and 14 in South Carolina. It used to be known from Florida, but is no longer found there.

~146 total populations have been found, but 28 have probably disappeared.




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Threats

The Georgia Aster has many threats and causes of endangerment.

Herbicides, highway construction, fire suppression, and residential and industrial development have changed their natural habitat. Also with habitat loss, the disappearance of native grazing animals has also hurt the aster as well. Without these grazers and fires, it allows woody plants to grow and shade-out the Georgia aster. Now, the asters are located near highways because of the natural disturbance so, they are very vulnerable to threats from humans.

Conservation Efforts

In 1999, the Georgial Aster was so declined that the Forest Service nominated them to be on the endangered species list. At first, they were excluded because of other species being more at risk. However conservation efforts still continued. In 2014 organizations signed the Candidate Conservation Agreement which will help prtect and rive the asters. Also the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and many others are working to save the asters by prescribimg fires and thinning woodlands. I think that this will help but if the efforts cease then the Georgia Aster can decline in the future as well.