Botanical Name: Sericocarpus tortifolius
Common Name: Whitetop Aster, Dixie Aster
Description: Whitetop aster is a perennial wildflower found in sandhills, pine flatwoods, upland mixed woodlands, and forest margins throughout Florida. It blooms late summer through fall and attracts many butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Needs well drained sandy soils in sun, part sun, or part shade. Grows 2-3′ tall. Its interesting fuzzy foliage and attractive blooms make it a nice addition to a mixed wildflower garden. Is drought tolerant after becoming established.
Whitetop aster flowers consist of a compact center of yellowish disk florets surrounded by ray florets that are narrow and creamy white. Ray florets are few. Phyllaries are pubescent and white with green tips. They are more obvious before the flower blooms as they protect the flowerhead before it opens. Stems are branched and pubescent. Leaves are pubescent, spatulate to obovate and sessile. They have a thick, fuzzy appearance. Leaf margins are entire, but tend to curl. Leaf blades may twist upward. Leaves are alternately arranged. Fruit is a small achene that is also pubescent.
This is a unique looking native wildflower that would be pretty in your garden. Because of its white flowers, it should be part of your Moon Garden area.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 5-15″ tall.
Interesting Tidbit: The genus Sericocarpus is from the Latin sericus or “silky,” and carpus, which refers to the fruit or seed. The species epithet tortifolius refers to the twisted (torti) leaves (folius).
Hardiness Zones 7 – 11