Heath aster is a perennial herbaceous plant with stems from 1 to 3 ft (0.3 to 0.9 m) tall. Its leaves are sessile (stalkless) and narrow, becoming smaller towards the top of the plant and tips of the branching stem. It has white (rarely pinkish), composite flowerheads with yellow centers that begin flowering in late summer through fall. They are rather small, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 inch (8 to 10 mm) across. It is commonly confused with Symphyotrichum pilosum, which co-occurs throughout most of its range. S. pilosum has larger flowerheads with longer ray petals. The phyllaries on S. pilosum are spine-tipped, while those of S. ericoides are not (although the curled edges may make them appear to be).