- A salt marsh plant that grows from seed each summer.
The Bathurst aster is a coastal or salt marsh plant found in the northeastern region of New Brunswick. It is small, generally no more than 20 cm in height, with branching from the base of the plant. It has fleshy leaves, which is typical of many of the plants that grow in this type of salt-influenced habitat. The Bathurst aster is unusual among the asters in that it has only a few, small petals. In fact, what we think of as aster petals are actually tiny individual flowers called ray flowers. A cluster of a second kind of tiny flower, called tube flowers, forms the centre of the aster blossoms, in what often resembles a small button. These ray flowers are few and small, giving the impression the plant has lost several petals. The flowers are produced at the end of the summer and are white with a tint of blue. This annual aster grows from seed each summer.
The Bathurst aster is found on gravel strands or adjacent salt marshes, where they are covered daily by tidal waters. Coastal stewardship, such as protecting salt marshes, is an effective measure in conserving this species.
The Bathurst aster is a true New Brunswick endemic, being found nowhere else in the world. An endemic is a species that is native to or limited to a given geographic area. It is known from a few sites along the northeastern coast near Bathurst. The Bathurst aster is a variety of the salt marsh aster, which is more widely distributed in Canada and the United States.