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Canadanthus modestus is similar in appearance to Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) but differs from the latter by flowering stems, phyllaries, and bracts densely glandular-hairy (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae has glandular hairs and non-glandular hairs mixed) and sessile leaves that do not have auricles (small projections) that wrap around the stem. In Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin habitat preferences also differ with Canadanthus modestus preferring cool wet habitats and Symphyotrichum novae-angliae usually found in warmer areas in moist soil. In other parts of its range it occurs in moist, well-drained woods and clearings and roadsides.
In a low spot at the head of a trail through a restored fen. Also abundantly present in the fen.