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Sea Aster

Aster tripolium

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Beaches, saltmarshes, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside.

Purple, many petals
The Sea Aster graces the coastal landscapes of the United Kingdom with its stunning flowers, showcasing a kaleidoscope of hues, including soft pinks, purples, and lavenders. Blooming from late summer through early autumn, these vibrant flowers contribute to the picturesque beauty of shorelines. The Aster's intricate petals form a captivating display, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies to partake in their nectar. Despite their ephemeral nature, the flowers play a crucial role in the coastal ecosystem, not only in terms of aesthetics but also in supporting biodiversity. The coastal flora's resilience is evident in the Sea Aster, as it withstands the challenges posed by the salty sea spray and contributes to the dynamic tapestry of the UK's coastal environments.
The Sea Aster produces small, inconspicuous fruits that follow the blooming period. These fruits, often referred to as achenes, possess a subtle yet essential role in the plant's reproductive cycle. Enclosed within the dried flower head, the achenes are dispersed through various mechanisms, aiding in the Sea Aster's propagation along coastal habitats. While not a focal point of aesthetic appeal, these fruits contribute to the overall life cycle of the plant, showcasing the adaptive strategies employed by the Sea Aster in the UK's coastal environments.
The Sea Aster boasts leaves that exhibit a diversity of shapes, ranging from lanceolate to elliptical, contributing to its overall visual allure. These resilient leaves, with their distinctive green hues, form a dense foliage that plays a vital role in stabilizing coastal soils and preventing erosion along the shorelines. The plant's ability to thrive in saline environments is mirrored in the structure of its leaves, showcasing adaptability to the challenging coastal conditions. In some varieties, the leaves may possess aromatic qualities, adding an additional layer to the sensory experience of encountering the Sea Aster in the UK's dynamic coastal ecosystems.
While the Sea Aster is primarily celebrated for its visual charm, certain varieties may offer an additional sensory dimension through aromatic qualities. The leaves of some Sea Aster plants emit subtle fragrances that add to the overall experience of encountering these coastal wonders. The aroma, though not overpowering, can contribute to the sensory delight of coastal environments, enhancing the immersive nature of coastal walks and explorations. While not a defining feature for all varieties, the aromatic nuances of Sea Aster leaves can add a delightful aspect to the sensory tapestry of the UK's coastal landscapes, providing a nuanced and engaging experience for those who appreciate the intricacies of nature.
Other Names:
Blue Chamomile, Blue Daisy, Purple Chamomile, Sea Sharewort, Sea Star, Sea Starwort, Seashore Aster, Tripoly.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Aster tripolium, also known as sea aster or wild aster, is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It belongs to the aster family and is known for its small, purple flowers and narrow, grass-like leaves. Aster tripolium is a low-growing plant that is often found in wetland or coastal areas. It is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and climates. Aster tripolium prefers full sun and is drought-tolerant once established. The plant is generally hardy and low maintenance, but it can be prone to pests such as aphids and slugs. Aster tripolium is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the safety and effectiveness of using it medicinally.


Sea aster, also known as Aster tripolium, is a beautiful and unique wildflower that can be found growing along the coastlines of Europe and North America. This versatile plant is able to tolerate the harsh conditions of the coastal environment, including high winds, salt spray, and fluctuating water levels.

One of the most striking features of sea aster is its vibrant purple flowers, which bloom from late summer through early fall. These flowers are arranged in a large, flat cluster, and are quite large, measuring up to 2 inches in diameter. The leaves of the sea aster are also quite distinctive, featuring a silvery-white color and a hairy texture.

Sea aster is a hardy and adaptable plant that can grow in a variety of different soils and conditions. It is often found growing in sandy or rocky soils, and can tolerate both dry and wet conditions. This makes it an excellent choice for coastal gardens and beachfront landscaping.

In addition to its beauty and hardiness, sea aster is also a valuable plant for wildlife. The flowers of the plant provide an important source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, while the seeds are a food source for birds and other small animals.

If you're looking to add some coastal charm to your garden, sea aster is an excellent choice. It's easy to grow, adaptable to a wide range of conditions, and provides a beautiful and unique addition to any landscape.

Sea aster is also known for its medicinal properties. The plant has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and respiratory problems. The leaves and roots of the plant contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and expectorant properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, sea aster has also been used in traditional cuisine. The young leaves of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked, and have a slightly bitter taste that is similar to endive or chicory. The leaves can be added to salads, sandwiches, or soups for a unique and flavorful addition to any meal.

Sea aster is also known for its ability to help prevent coastal erosion. The plant's deep roots and dense foliage help to stabilize the soil, reducing the impact of storm surges and high winds. This makes it a valuable plant for coastal restoration projects and beachfront landscaping.

When planting sea aster, it is important to choose a location that is well-drained and receives full sun. The plant prefers sandy or rocky soils and can tolerate salt spray. It is also a good idea to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.

Overall, sea aster is a versatile and valuable plant that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you're looking to add beauty to your garden, provide a food source for wildlife, or protect your coastal property from erosion, sea aster is an excellent choice. It is a hardy and adaptable plant that is sure to thrive in any coastal environment.

Sea aster is also known for its ability to attract a variety of wildlife, making it a great addition to any wildlife garden. The nectar-rich flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, while the seeds provide food for birds and small mammals.

In addition to its ornamental and wildlife value, sea aster is also an important plant for conservation. It is considered a threatened species in some areas, due to habitat loss and over-collection. However, it is relatively easy to grow from seed or cuttings and can be propagated for conservation projects or for use in landscaping.

Sea aster is also a great plant for coastal gardening as it can survive in poor soil, salt spray and strong winds making it a perfect option for landscaping along the coast, dunes, and beach. It can also be planted in salt marshes and other coastal environments to help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

To maintain a healthy sea aster population, it is important to avoid over-collecting the plant from the wild. Instead, it is best to purchase seed or plants from a reputable nursery or to propagate the plant in your own garden.

In conclusion, Sea aster is a fascinating and beautiful coastal wildflower that can be used in many ways, from adding beauty to your garden to protecting coastal property from erosion. With its hardiness and adaptability, it is easy to grow and maintain, and it is a valuable plant for wildlife and conservation. If you want to add a touch of coastal charm to your garden, sea aster is an excellent choice.

30 Stunning Sea Aster Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Sea Aster is scientifically known as Aster tripolium.

  2. Coastal Distribution: This perennial plant is commonly found along the coastal regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.

  3. Adaptation to Salinity: Sea Aster exhibits remarkable salt tolerance, thriving in saline environments like salt marshes and coastal meadows.

  4. Flowering Period: The Sea Aster typically blooms from late summer to early autumn, displaying vibrant flowers.

  5. Colorful Blooms: The flowers come in a spectrum of colors, including shades of pink, purple, and lavender, adding to the coastal landscape's beauty.

  6. Edible Characteristics: Sea Aster is edible, and its young shoots and leaves are often used in salads or as a garnish due to their mild, slightly salty flavor.

  7. Wildlife Habitat: Its dense foliage serves as a habitat for various insects and small animals, contributing to coastal ecosystem biodiversity.

  8. Ecological Importance: Sea Aster plays a role in stabilizing coastal soils, helping to prevent erosion along shorelines.

  9. Halophyte Adaptation: As a halophyte, Sea Aster has evolved to thrive in saline conditions by efficiently managing salt levels within its tissues.

  10. Medicinal Uses: Traditionally, certain communities have used Sea Aster for its perceived medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory effects.

  11. Seed Propagation: Sea Aster reproduces through seeds, contributing to the dispersal and establishment of populations along coastlines.

  12. Pollination Mechanism: Insects, particularly bees and butterflies, play a vital role in pollinating Sea Aster flowers.

  13. Asteraceae Family: Sea Aster belongs to the Asteraceae family, which also includes sunflowers, daisies, and asters.

  14. Perennial Growth: The Sea Aster persists as a perennial, with some individual plants living for several years.

  15. Vegetative Spread: It can also spread vegetatively, forming colonies through rhizomes and contributing to its adaptability.

  16. Resistance to Sea Spray: Sea Aster has evolved to withstand the challenges of sea spray, making it well-suited for coastal environments.

  17. Ephemeral Nature: While its flowers are vibrant and showy, they are relatively short-lived, contributing to the plant's ephemeral beauty.

  18. Soil Stabilization: Its extensive root system aids in stabilizing sandy soils, preventing erosion and promoting ecosystem health.

  19. Coastal Erosion Control: Planting Sea Aster can be part of coastal management strategies to control erosion and enhance biodiversity.

  20. Climate Resilience: Sea Aster's ability to thrive in dynamic coastal environments showcases its resilience to changing weather conditions.

  21. Attracts Butterflies: The nectar-rich flowers attract butterflies, adding to the plant's ecological significance.

  22. Traditional Culinary Uses: Besides salads, Sea Aster has been historically used in certain culinary traditions for pickling and cooking.

  23. Seasonal Variability: The appearance and growth patterns of Sea Aster can vary based on seasonal and environmental factors.

  24. Aromatic Qualities: Some varieties of Sea Aster may have aromatic qualities, contributing to their sensory appeal.

  25. Conservation Concerns: In some regions, Sea Aster habitats face conservation challenges due to habitat destruction and human activities.

  26. Diversity in Leaf Shapes: Sea Aster leaves can exhibit diverse shapes, from lanceolate to elliptical, enhancing its visual appeal.

  27. Coastal Grazing: In certain areas, Sea Aster is utilized by coastal grazers, contributing to the plant's ecological interactions.

  28. Cultural Significance: In some cultures, Sea Aster may have cultural or folklore significance, often associated with coastal themes.

  29. Dynamic Growth Patterns: Sea Aster may exhibit dynamic growth patterns, responding to environmental cues such as sunlight and soil conditions.

  30. Educational Importance: Studying Sea Aster provides insights into the ecology and adaptations of plants in coastal ecosystems, contributing to environmental education efforts.


Sea Asters filmed at Carnforth in Lancashire on the 13th August 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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