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SPECIES:  Eurybia conspicua
Western western showy aster. Wikimedia Commons image by Franz Xaver.



SPECIES: Eurybia conspicua
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Reed, William R. 1993. Eurybia conspicua. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revisions: On 24 April 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS from: showy aster to: western western showy aster. Images were also added. ABBREVIATION : EURCON SYNONYMS : Aster conspicuus Lindl. [10,14,28] NRCS PLANT CODE : ASCO3 COMMON NAMES : western western showy aster western showy aster conspicuous aster creeping aster TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of western showy aster is Eurybia conspicua (Lindl.) Nesom [29,30]. There are no recognized infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Eurybia conspicua
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Western showy aster is distributed from Yukon Territory east to Saskatchewan, south to northern Wyoming, and west to northeastern Oregon [10,14].
Distribution of western western showy aster. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC [2018, April 24] [26].
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES22  Western white pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES25  Larch
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine
   FRES29  Sagebrush

     ID  MT  OR  WA  WY  AB  BC  SK  YT

    2  Cascade Mountains
    5  Columbia Plateau
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
    9  Middle Rocky Mountains
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

   K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
   K004  Fir - hemlock forest
   K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
   K010  Ponderosa shrub forest
   K011  Western ponderosa forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K013  Cedar - hemlock - pine forest
   K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K015  Western spruce - fir forest
   K055  Sagebrush steppe

   201  White spruce
   205  Mountain hemlock
   206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
   207  Red fir
   210  Interior Douglas-fir
   211  White fir
   212  Western larch
   213  Grand fir
   215  Western white pine
   218  Lodgepole pine
   219  Limber pine
   237  Interior ponderosa pine
   251  White spruce - aspen


Common plant associates of western showy aster include heartleaf arnica (Arnica
cordifolia), Lindley aster (Aster ciliolatus), pinegrass (Calamagrostis
rubescens), white spiraea (Spiraea betulifolia), huckleberry (Vaccinium
spp.), and elk sedge (Carex geyeri).


SPECIES: Eurybia conspicua
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Western showy aster is a common constituent of summer diets of black bear in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forests of Alberta [11]. Western showy aster is preferred forage for grizzly bears in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, northwestern Montana [17]. PALATABILITY : Western showy aster provides valuable forage for deer, elk, cattle, and domestic sheep in Idaho and British Columbia [18,21]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Western showy aster is low in resistance to repeated human trampling, but it may recover rapidly.  In montane grassland in Montana, western showy aster cover increased more than 30 percent between the end of August and the following June [3]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Western showy aster cover decreased from 4.4 to 0.7 percent under heavy grazing in a Douglas-fir forest in northern Idaho [27].  It also declined in abundance and vigor following heavy grazing in a Douglas-fir vegetation type in British Columbia [25], and decreased to 0.0 percent frequency following 12 years of heavy grazing in a mountain meadow community in northern Idaho [15]. Western showy aster increased following clearcutting in a Douglas-fir/ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus) habitat type in western Montana [1].


SPECIES: Eurybia conspicua
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Western showy aster is a native, perennial herb.  Its peduncle is 1 to 2 feet (30-60 cm) tall, and it usually has several shorter sterile stems arising from extensive creeping rhizomes [14].  Rhizomes grow 0.5 to 2.0 inches (0.5-5 cm) below the soil surface [4].  Flowers are borne in an open, flat-topped inflorescence [10,14]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sexual:  Western showy aster reproduces by seed.  Seeds are wind dispersed long distances and can germinate on bare soil [5,18,20]. Asexual:  Western showy aster sprouts from extensive, creeping rhizomes [4,18]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Western showy aster occurs in continental boreal and cool-temperate climates on moderately dry soils.  It is a common interior species on "water shedding" sites [12].  It is most common in montane zones, but is also found in forested areas of valley and lower subalpine zones [14].  In Wyoming western showy aster occurs from 5,500 to 9,000 feet (1,667-2,727 m) elevation.  In Montana it is found from 3,000 to 7,100 feet (910-2,152 m) elevation [6]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Western showy aster is tolerant of both sun and shade.  Small colonies typically establish following stand-destroying fires or clearcutting and site scarification [20,22].  Western showy aster produces more vegetative growth and fewer flowering stems with increasing shade in later succession [14]. It can, however, maintain extensive colonies beneath pine (Pinus spp.) and open Douglas-fir canopies.  It is an indicator of late seres in Douglas fir/ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus) habitat types of central Idaho [20]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Western showy aster flowers in late summer throughout its range [14].


SPECIES: Eurybia conspicua
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Western showy aster is moderately resistant to fire, typically sprouting from surviving rhizomes.  Rhizomes usually survive light- to moderate-severity fires that do not cause excessive soil heating [4,8]. After fire, western showy aster also regenerates from wind-dispersed and soil-stored seed [5,20,24].  Growth is stimulated after fire, resulting in mass flowering in the first few postfire years [22,23,24]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)    Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)    Secondary colonizer - on-site seed


SPECIES: Eurybia conspicua
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Western showy aster is top-killed by fire.  Because rhizomes often survive, the species has been classified as moderately resistant to fire [8]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Western showy aster increases rapidly after fire [16,18].  Western showy aster exhibits mass flowering in postfire years 1 and 2.  The extent of flowering is directly related to prefire abundance and postfire survivorship [22,23,24].  Western showy aster frequency increased from 8 percent before fire to 20 percent 2 years after a moderate-severity fire in a Douglas-fir forest in Idaho.  By postfire year 7, western showy aster frequency increased to 52 percent [16].  Following the 1977 Pattee Canyon Fire in Missoula, Montana, western showy aster cover was 1.4 percent in 1978 and 2.0 percent in 1982 [16]. On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, western showy aster frequency and cover were higher on sites that had been thinned 6 years previously than on prescribed burned, thinned-and-burned, or control sites. Western showy aster was determined to be an indicator species for thinned sites (P0.05). For further information on the effects of thinning and burning treatments on western showy aster and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary of Youngblood and others' [50] study. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Lyon's Research Paper and the following Research Project Summaries also provide information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of plant community species including western showy aster: FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Eurybia conspicua
REFERENCES :  1.  Arno, Stephen F.; Simmerman, Dennis G.; Keane, Robert E. 1985. Forest        succession on four habitat types in western Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep.        INT-177. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 74 p.  [349]  2.  Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals,        reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's        associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO:        U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p.        [434]  3.  Cole, David N. 1988. Disturbance and recovery of trampled montane        grassland and forests in Montana. Res. Pap. INT-389. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 37 p.  [3622]  4.  Crane, M. F.; Fischer, William C. 1986. Fire ecology of the forest        habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-218. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 85 p.  [5297]  5.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]  6.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]  7.  Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and        Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p.  [905]  8.  Fischer, William C.; Bradley, Anne F. 1987. Fire ecology of western        Montana forest habitat types. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-223. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 95 p.  [633]  9.  Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others].        1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range        ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p.  [998] 10.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168] 11.  Holcroft, Anne C.; Herrero, Stephen. 1991. Black bear, Ursus americanus,        food habits in southwestern Alberta. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 105(3):        335-345.  [18673] 12.  Klinka, K.; Krajina, V. J.; Ceska, A.; Scagel, A. M. 1989. Indicator        plants of coastal British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: University of British        Columbia Press. 288 p.  [10703] 13.  Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation        of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York:        American Geographical Society. 77 p.  [1384] 14.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central        Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 648 p.  [13798] 15.  Leege, Thomas A.; Herman, Daryl J.; Zamora, Benjamin. 1981. Effects of        cattle grazing on mountain meadows in Idaho. Journal of Range        Management. 34(4): 324-328.  [2961] 16.  Lyon, L. Jack. 1966. Initial vegetal development following prescribed        burning of Douglas-fir in south-central Idaho. Res. Pap. INT-29. Ogden,        UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest        and Range Experiment Station. 17 p.  [1494] 17.  Mace, Richard D. 1986. Analysis of grizzly bear habitat in the Bob        Marshall Wilderness, Montana. In: Contreras, Glen P.; Evans, Keith E,        compilers. Proceedings--grizzly bear habitat symposium; 1985 April 30 -        May 2; Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-207. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 136-149.        [10814] 18.  McLean, Alastair. 1968. Fire resistance of forest species as influenced        by root systems. Journal of Range Management. 22: 120-122.  [1621] 19.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant        geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843] 20.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136] 21.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1993. The Douglas-fir/pinegrass        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-298. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 83 p.  [21512] 22.  Stickney, Peter F. 1980. Data base for post-fire succession, first 6 to        9 years, in Montana larch-fir forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-62. Ogden,        UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest        and Range Experiment Station. 133 p.  [6583] 23.  Stickney, Peter. 1989. After forest wildfire, then what?  .... Masses of        flowers!. Words on Wilderness:  The Newsletter of the Wilderness Studies        Information Center. Missoula, MT: University of Montana: 6.  [17441] 24.  Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern        Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire        Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p.  [20090] 25.  Tisdale, E. W.; McLean, A. 1957. The douglas-fir zone of southern        interior British Columbia. Ecological Monographs. 27(3): 247-266.        [8866] 26.  USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2018. PLANTS Database, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (Producer). Available:  [34262] 27.  Zimmerman, G. T.; Neuenschwander, L. F. 1984. Livestock grazing        influences on community structure, fire intensity, and fire frequency        within the Douglas-fir/ninebark habitat type. Journal of Range        Management. 37(2): 104-110.  [10103] 28.  Chambers, Kenton L.; Sundberg, Scott. 2001. Oregon vascular plant checklist:        Asteraceae, [Online]. In: Oregon Flora Project. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State        University (Producer). Available: [2005, October 18].  [54819] 29.  Nesom, G. L. 1994. Review of the taxonomy of Aster sensu lato (Asteraceae:        Astereae), emphasizing the New World species. Phytologia. 77: 259. [54820] 30.  Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American       flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Available: North Carolina Botanical       Garden. In cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources       Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [2001, January 16].       [36715]     31.  Youngblood, Andrew; Metlen, Kerry L.; Coe, Kent.  2006. Changes in stand structure        and composition after restoration treatments in low elevation dry forests of        northeastern Oregon. Forest Ecology and Management. 234(1-3): 143-163.  [64992]

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