Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae)

Aster-novae-angliae-2009-09-27-01

Now Symphyotrichum novae-angliae. Our showiest native aster, with many cultivated varieties bred for color and habit. The wild ones are somehow more beautiful, perhaps because in some way they are more true. These were found in a roadside meadow near West Newton, where at least four species of aster grew together with joyful abandon.

North American asters have been moved wholesale by botanists to the euphonious genus Symphyotrichum, but if they were listed here under that name no one would find them.

From Gray’s Manual of Botany: A. novae-angliae L7* Stem stout, hairy, 0.5-2.6 m. high, corymbed at the summit ; leaves numerous, lanceolate, entire, acute, auriculate-clasping, clothed with minute pubescence, 0.5-1 dm. long; bracts nearly equal, linear-awl-shaped, loose, glandular-viscid, as well as the branchlets;  rays violet-purple, rarely white, very numerous; achenes hairy. Moist chiefly calcareous grounds, centr. Me. to w. Que., westw. and southw. Aug.-Oct. Heads large; a very handsome species, popular in cultivation. (Escaped
from gardens, and locally naturalized in Eu.)

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