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Herrickia glauca
Herrickia glauca var. glauca.  Synonyms: Eucephalus glaucus, Eucephalus formosus, Aster glaucodes, Aster glaucus,  Eurybia glauca. (Waxy Aster, Gray Aster)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills. Base of talus at edge of woodlands, openings. Late summer, fall.
Lower Dolores River, October 18, 2007.

William Weber calls this plant Eucephalus glaucus, John Kartesz and Flora of North America call it Herrickia glauca, and Intermountain Flora calls it Aster glaucodes.  I at first identified the plant shown in these photographs as Virgulaster ascendens.  This is a difficult plant to name --  and to key out. 

After consulting with Leslie Stewart, USFS plant expert, I came to accept that the plant pictured is  E. glaucus -- or one of its other names. The problem seems to be that the plant hybridizes and is, therefore, difficult to identify. The key characteristics that lead me to identify the plants shown on this page as E. glaucus are: the great masses of plants arising from roots, the blue-green leaf color, and the phyllaries (see next photo).

The plant was first named Eucephalus glaucus in 1841 by famed botanist, Thomas Nuttall, who was the first to collect this species near the "sources of the Platte, and in the Rocky Mts."; Torrey and Gray named it Aster glaucus in 1841; Sidney Blake named it Aster glaucodes in 1922; and Luc Brouillet named it Herrickia glaucus in 2004.

Herrickia glauca

Herrickia glauca

Herrickia glauca var. glauca.  Synonyms: Eucephalus glaucus, Eucephalus formosus, Aster glaucodes, Aster glaucus,  Eurybia glauca. (Waxy Aster, Gray Aster)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills. Base of talus at edge of woodlands, openings. Late summer, fall.
Lower Dolores River, October 18, 2007 and October 8, 2012.

The characteristics of the phyllaries are the main reason I identify this plant as Herrickia glauca.  Phyllaries are in several rows and overlap, shingle style; outer phyllaries are broader than inner; phyllaries have a strong central vein which sometimes protrudes, keel-like; phyllaries are very light green to almost cream to maroon or maroon edged; and finally, outer phyllaries are rounded and inner are more pointed.

Herrickia glauca
Herrickia glauca var. glauca.  Synonyms: Eucephalus glaucus, Eucephalus formosus, Aster glaucodes, Aster glaucus,  Eurybia glauca. (Waxy Aster, Gray Aster)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)  

Foothills. Base of talus at edge of woodlands, openings. Late summer, fall.
Lower Dolores River, October 8, 2012.

Leaves are yellowing but numerous flowers are still on the plants.

Herrickia glauca
Herrickia glauca var. glauca.  Synonyms: Eucephalus glaucus, Eucephalus formosus, Aster glaucodes, Aster glaucus,  Eurybia glauca. (Waxy Aster, Gray Aster)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills. Base of talus at edge of woodlands, openings. Late summer, fall.
Lower Dolores River, October 18, 2007.

The thick leaves can be very finely serrated.

Herrickia glauca
Herrickia glauca var. glauca.  Synonyms: Eucephalus glaucus, Eucephalus formosus, Aster glaucodes, Aster glaucus,  Eurybia glauca. (Waxy Aster, Gray Aster)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)  

Foothills. Base of talus at edge of woodlands, openings. Late summer, fall.
Lower Dolores River, October 8, 2012.

Plants are rhizomatous, i.e., they can reproduce themselves from underground stem/root stock and can in this manner populate many square feet.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Eurybia glauca

Range map for Eurybia glauca