Species At Risk

Western Silvery Aster

(Symphyotrichum sericeum)


Western Silvery Aster
Western Silvery Aster occurrences map


Considered by some botanists to be one of the prettiest members of the aster family, the Western Silvery Aster is a perennial wildflower native to Ontario. It is most noticeable in the fall when it flowers.

The stalks can grow up to 70 cm, with leaves that are covered in fine hairs (hence the silver appearance). Flowers are pink or pale purple and become redder as they age.

Action we are taking:


The range of the Western Silvery Aster in central North America extends from Texas to Michigan and Manitoba. In Ontario, it grows in just two areas on the south shore of Lake of the Woods, and on an island in the lake.


The Western Silvery Aster grows in open bur oak savannahs on shallow soils over bedrock. It is found with other prairie species.


Like most species at risk, the loss and destruction of habitat is a cause of decline of Western Silvery Aster numbers. In particular, shoreline development and off- road vehicles pose threats to this species.


Western Silvery Aster is listed under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.

What You Can Do to help the Western Silvery Aster

  • Non-native, invasive plants can pose a threat to the Western Silvery Aster and other native plants. When planting on your property, be sure to check with your local garden centre or native plant nurseries for a list of native species.
  • Report your sightings of Western Silvery Aster to the Natural Heritage Information Centre, which tracks and maintains a database of many of Ontario’s wild species. http://nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/nhic/species/species_report.cfm .
  • In Ontario, the Western Silvery Aster is found both on private property and public lands, and voluntary stewardship efforts can play an important role in this species’ recovery. Like all species, the Western Silvery Aster requires healthy habitat. If you are a land owner with provincially significant habitat on your property, you may qualify for stewardship assistance. For more information visit: ontario.ca/speciesatrisk.
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • If your farm is registered under the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan, you may qualify for assistance under a pilot program that encourages greater protection and conservation of habitat for species at risk.

Did you know?

The Western Silvery Aster is Ontario’s rarest aster. It grows in bur oak savannahs, which is a provincially rare type of habitat.

Did you know?

This plant has a long history. It likely migrated to the northwest around 6,000-8,000 years ago, when prairies expanded eastward; a time when woodland buffalo roamed the Kenora area.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.