New England Aster

New England Aster
New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

New England Aster leaves are alternate, entire, sessile, and clasping at the stem
New England Aster leaves are alternate, entire, sessile, and clasping at the stem

You’ll recognize this prolific fall bloomer: New England Aster can be found growing locally in both home gardens and open meadows. Gobs of showy, purplish flowers cover the top of this tall native plant and provide an important source of nectar for insects–especially migrating butterflies– at this time of year.

Examine the photo of the leaves of New England Aster above. The leaves are alternate, entire (not toothed), sessile (lack a petiole), and lance-shaped. The base of the leaf is lobed and wraps around the hairy stem. The 1-inch flowers are composites of yellow disk flowers (center) surrounded by numerous (more than 30) dark to light purple ray flowers.

New England asters prefer moist soils and full sun. If you try growing them in your garden, they may need to be staked or otherwise supported when in full bloom. This beloved fall wildflower can grow 4 to 6 feet tall!

Click any photo below to open a larger viewer.
New England Aster: photo by Brian Murphy
New England Aster: photo by Brian Murphy

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