Symphyotrichum foliaceum, the Leafy Aster forms upright clusters of many light to dark purple flowerheads borne on branched, reddish stalks. Leaves are plentiful, both around the base and along the stems, where they are only slightly reduced in size. Flowers consist of between 16 and 60 ray florets and 50 to 150 yellow disc florets. The bracts, underneath the flowers, provide one means to distinguish the leafy aster from other similar species; they are light green in color (whitish at the base), leaf-like in appearance, and the lowest few are noticeably longer, projecting outwards to nearly the same extent as the petals.
Photo: Spenceville Wildlife Refuge, Yuba County, California, USA