A branching evergreen shrub, from two to five feet high, with smooth dark green, leathery leaves, an inch or less long, rather wedge-shaped, usually coarsely toothed. The flower-heads are very small, without rays, and are crowded at the ends of the twigs. Some plants have only staminate flowers and some only pistillate ones, and the effect of the two sorts is very different, for the staminate flowers are ugly, but the pistillate ones are provided with quantities of long, white, silky pappus, giving a beautiful, snowy appearance to the shrub. This is very variable, being a fine shrub in favorable situations, and is common along the coast on the sand dunes, on low hills and on high mountain slopes.
There are a great many kinds of Aster, most abundant in North America, difficult to distinguish, the flowers never yellow. Though there are some fine ones in the West, they are not so numerous or so handsome as in the East.