The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Chicago Botanical Garden
The conservation of Aster furcatus is fully sponsored.
Andrea Tietmeyer contributed to this Plant Profile.
Aster furcatus is a rare, self-incompatible plant that is endemic to the upper Midwest. This member of the Aster family is generally a woodland plant associated with low, wet areas. It has large white flowers that bloom from July to October, but that often fail to produce seed. Currently, this species is found reproducing almost exclusively asexually through the production and spread of rhizomes. These rhizomes are runners that make their way underground, eventually emerging up to 40 cm away from the parent plant. Because of this, populations of the forked aster often consists of clones, consisting of one to a few genetic individuals.
Distribution & Occurrence
The species prefers nitrogen rich, alkaline soils of woodland slopes and wet calceous woods. The species can also be found in microhabitat conditions such as woodland edges, disturbed woodlots, railroad rights-of-way and dry oak-hickory woods. (Jones 1989)
Associated species include: Solidago ulmifolia, Aster lateriflorus, Cinna arundinaceae, Elymus virginicus, Eupatorium rugosum, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Helianthus strumosus, Iris shrevei, Oenothera biennis, Phalaris arundinaceae, Quercus alba, Ranunculus recurvatus, Scutellaria lateriflora, Smilax hispida, Tilia americana, Uvularia grandiflora, Verbena urticifolia and Verbesina alternifolia.
|Fewer than 50 known populations (Les et al. 1991). In 1998 there were approximately 19 known populations in the Chicago area. It is difficult to know how many individuals are left because of the species tendency to reproduce via rhizomes rather than seed.|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Seedlings are out-competed (Les et al. 1992)
Trail and/or road maintenance (Jones 1998)
Intolerance to shade/Canopy closure (Les et al. 1992, Chicago Botanic Garden files)
Deer Browsing (Chicago Botanic Ga
Other studies have suggested that Aster furcatus may be evolving the capability to self-fertilize (the ability to produce seeds without the aid of pollen transfer by insects) in response to changes in population size (Reinartz and Les 1994).
Lane, M.A. 1996. Pollination biology of Compositae. In: Caligari, P.D.S. ; Hind, D.J.N., editors. Compositae: Biology & Utilization. Proceedings of the International Compositae Conference, Kew 1994. Royal Botanic Gardens. Kew. p 61-80.