New York Natural Heritage Program
Flax-leaf Whitetop
Sericocarpus linifolius (L.) B.S.P.
Dicots

General Description [-]
Flax-leaf Whitetop is a perennial, stout aster species growing up to 75 cm tall. Its leaves are linear, glabrous, and entire, up to 1 cm wide and 8 cm long. The basal and lower leaves wither by flowering time. The capitulescence is flat-topped, with 2 to 4 heads per branch. The phyllaries (the bracts of the involucre beneath each head) are white with a distinct green patch, and spreading. The flowers have 2 to 6 white ray flowers up to 1 cm long, and 5 to 15 white disc flowers up to 4 mm long.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Flowers or fruits are needed to positively identify Flax-leaf Whitetop.

Similar Species [-]
The only other species of Sericocarpus in New York is S. asteroides, which has (at least some) toothed stem leaves, differing from the entire leaves of S. linifolius. The combination of linear and entire stem leaves, flat-topped capitulescence, and recurved, glabrous, green-tipped phyllaries should also distinguish this species from those of other aster genera.
Flax-leaf Whitetop Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
The best time to identify this plant is in July through September.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Flowering Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Flax-leaf Whitetop flowering (blue shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.