Plants 50-200 cm. Leaves abaxially glabrous or sparsely short-piloso-villous (fewer than 10 hairs/mm 2 ), especially on larger veins. Phyllaries sparsely pilose, especially apically. 2n = 18. Flowering late summer-fall. Moist soils, clearings, thickets, wood margins; 0-1800 m; St. Pierre and Miquelon; Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Conn., Del., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Variety umbellata is common in the central and northern part of its range, becoming less so in the southern Appalachian Mountains and the foothills of northern Georgia and Alabama. More densely pubescent forms occur in the northeastern portion of the range. Minor forms have been described: Aster umbellatus forma convexus Allabach, A. umbellatus forma flexicaulis (House) Fernald, A. umbellatus forma discoideus Victorin (rays present, immature), A. umbellatus forma intercedens Fernald (more pubescent plants), Doellingeria umbellata forma flexicaulis House, and D. umbellata forma intercedens (Fernald) Moldenke.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent to somewhat frequent in marshes and low places in woodland and in moist, prairie habitats throughout the lake area. It is also found in a few of our southern counties in low, flat woods. Our specimens vary considerably in the size of the heads and in the pubescence of the under surface of the leaves. A few plants are glabrous but the greater number are more or less pubescent beneath with straggling, coarse hairs. The leaves of my La Porte County specimens are almost hirsute but none of our plants have leaves that are puberulent beneath.