{Almost} Wordless Wednesday :: New England Aster or Michaelmas Daisy (Symphyotrichum, formally Aster novae-angliae)

Posted on: September 17th, 2014 by Trillium Art

Aster, New England

We woke Sunday to a cool, crisp, sunny autumn day.  My “Runner Dude” was excited to participate in our community’s annual Terry Fox run.  While he ran the 10 km trail, my “Sweet Pea”, our new four-legged friend and I walked along some lovely trails meeting up with friends, enjoying the autumn sun on our faces and everything the day had to offer.  Some of the trees have started showing their fall colours, while the blooms of the fall flowers have changed to more oranges, burgundies, yellows and purples.

One of my much-loved fall-flowering wildflower, the Aster, can be seen everywhere.  It was in full bloom along the trails mixed in with lots of yellow goldenrod.  We enjoyed the colours so much this past weekend, that it seemed like the most logical choice to feature this week.  Little did I know that the Aster family was so extensive!  There are over 10 common Asters that occur in Ontario and that is not including the over 30 species of Aster that are less common or rare.

Aster, New England

The Aster flowers are described as composite flowers, comprised of violet-purple ray flowers (actual flowers but look like petals) and yellow disc flowers (actual flower closer to the middle) …two flowers in one!  This sun-loving flower starts blooming in the summer, but the fall is when it truly becomes a beauty!  The wild Asters can be found in open areas, the edges of fields, trails and roadsides.

The cultivated Aster looks very similar to this common wildflower and can be found at garden centres, fall displays and containers.  I had a lovely pink Aster in our previous garden that was always a delight in late fall as it always bloomed for Thanksgiving.  I definitely need to add Asters to our new gardens to have one last burst of colour before the snow flies!

Aster, New England

Zone: 3

Light Conditions:  full sun to part shade, not tolerant of dense shade

Height: ranges from 3’-7’, although most I have seen here are between 3’-4’

Flowers:  rose-purple flowers with numerous rays with the centre being the yellow disc flower, the flowers cluster at the end of the branches, flowering August to October

Tips:  popular for bees and Monarch butterflies, salt tolerant, resistant to deer

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