This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Annual, nearly glabrous, somewhat fleshy herbs, with narrow chiefly entire leaves, and small racemose or racemose-paniculate heads of tubular, or also radiate purplish flowers. Involucre campanulate. Central flowers of the head few, perfect, their narrow corollas 4-5-toothed; outer flowers pistillate, usually in 2 series or more, and more numerous than the perfect ones; style-appendages lanceolate; rays very short, or none. Achenes 2-3-nerved, slender, appressed-pubescent. Pappus a single series of nearly white bristles. [Greek, short rays.]
About 5 species, natives of western North America and northern Asia. Type species: Brachy-actis ciliata Ledeb.
1834. Aster angustus T. & G. Fl. N. A. 2: 162. 1841. Brachyactis angusta Britton, in Britt. & Brown; 111. Fl.
Stem usually sparsely pubescent, at least above, racemosely or rarely paniculately branched, 6'-24' high, striate, at least when dry. Leaves linear, fleshy, ciliate on the margins, acutish, entire, sessile by a rather broad base, the basal (when present) spatulate; heads 4"-6" broad, racemose on the ascending branches, or terminating them; involucre campanulate or nearly hemispheric, 2"-3" high, its bracts linear or linear-oblong, somewhat foliaceous, green, acute.or acutish, imbricated in 2 or 3 series, glabrous or slightly ciliate, nearly equal; rays none, or rudimentary; pappus soft and copious.
In wet saline soil, or sometimes in waste places, Minnesota to Saskatchewan, Utah and Colorado, and along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. Found also about Chicago. July-Sept.