The Georgia Aster, Symphotrichum georgianum is a federal candidate for the threatened and endangered species list under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. On September 18, 2014 the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced in the Federal Register a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Georgia Aster as an endangered species. After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, the Service found that listing the S. georgianum was not warranted at that time. However, they ask the public to submit to them any new information that becomes available concerning the threats to the S. georgianum or its habitat at any time. One reason they cited for not listing S. georgianum was that in 1999 only 60 populations were know to exist while by 2014 the number of know populations had increased to 118. Learn more about about the process of being list an endangered species at the US Fish and Wildlife Service's species profile page.
A relict of the upland-oak hickory-pine forests, it thrives when exposed to natural disturbances such as fire or grazing. It is, however, vulnerable to human intervention, including pulling, mowing, exposure to herbicide, and suppression of fires.
The Georgia aster is suffering in the wild due to its small, isolated populations and having its natural environment disturbed by humans. The park provides refuge for the species from development, road-widening projects, and conventional landscape practices that are displacing and isolating the few populations left in this area. Look for a population of transplanted Georgia asters in the garden right in front of our headquarters at Island Ford. The best time to see them is when they are blooming in October and November.
Last updated: February 6, 2017