Long-Stalk Aster
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Long-Stalk Aster
P Native Photo: Tabish
Common name: Long-Stalk Aster
Botanical name: Cordiofontis peduncularis    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Aster peduncularis, Amphirhapis peduncularis, Aster asperulus

Long-Stalk Aster is a clump-forming perennial herb up to about 30 cm across. Stems are erect, usually floppy, 15-100 cm tall, hairless or sparsely hairy below, leafy throughout, but lower leaves dying, and persistent, as last flower-heads open. Inflorescence consists of solitary flower-heads or more usually in few- to several-headed corymbs, often one shoot appearing as one large corymb when in full flower. Flower-stalks are 4-14 cm long, sparsely coarsely hairy, naked except for 1 or 2 narrow-lanceshaped scale-like or leaf-like bracts, 9-20 x 2-4 mm, often in upper part, 1 often subtending involucre. Flower-heads are radiate, up to 2.5 cm across, fruiting flower-heads 1.0-1.7 cm across; involucre bell-shaped; phyllaries biseriate, series usually appearing nearly equal, 7-15 long x 1.5-3.5 mm wide, linear-lanceshaped, margins appearing coarsely fringed with hairs, membranous, tips long-pointed; receptacle flat, hollow. Ray florets are 18-38, female, in one series, flower often deciduous but typically persists on fruiting flower-heads; ray limb 1.2-2.5 cm long, flower tube about 3.5 mm long, upper part and base of ray limb sparsely velvet-hairy; style arms bifid. Disc florets are numerous, hermaphrodite; flowers 4.5-7 mm long, dull yellow, throat sparsely short-velvet-hairy outside, basal tube hairless; anther cylinder included, anther collar distinct and broadened; style hairless with swollen basal node; style arms divided, papillate outside. Leaves are alternate, lower leaves stalked, leaf-stalks 0.5-5.0 cm long, reddish-purple, grooved above, lower to upper stem leaves with sheathing winged leaf-stalks, wings up to 3 mm wide narrowing upwards towards blade, except for wingless leaf-stalks of basal leaves, leaf-stalks and wings usually prominently hairy, especially on margins or angles, blade 2.5-12 x 1.5-7 cm, herbaceous, elliptic to ovate or cordiform, discolourous, mid-green above and often shiny in young leaves, paler beneath, base wedge-shaped, rounded or heart-shaped, midrib and primary venation, prominent beneath, reddish-purple towards leaf base, midrib and primary venation ingrooved above giving a bul-late appearance, margins usually coarsely toothed, at least on basal leaves, teeth smaller and with a short sharp point in upper leaves, tips pointed to tapering or sub-blunt. Achenes are 4-4.5 mm long, compressed with 2 indistinct marginal veins, body densely setuliferous, setulae pointed; carpopodium a narrow annulus; pappus biseriate, outer series shorter and slightly broader than inner, about 1 mm long, inner series about 5.5 mm, capillary, barbellate, buff, tips pointed. Long-Stalk Aster is found in Western Himalaya between Kashmir and Nepal, at altitudes of about 1500-3100 m. Flowering: August-October.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Dhanaulti, Uttarakhand.

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