Photo by Fran Gustman

ASTERS have star-shaped flower heads. There are many different kinds of aster and most of them bloom in late summer or early fall. A common aster of woods and thickets is heart-leaved aster, Symphyotrichum cordifolius, which has blue-violet flowers and stands one to five feet tall. The leaves are toothed and heart-shaped. Also found in woods is the white wood aster, Eurybia divaricata, which has long, white petals. Its flower heads are in a flat cluster and the leaves are also heart-shaped. heath aster, Symphyotrichum pilosum, can be found in more sunny areas, such as meadows and fields. Its erect branched stems hold flowers with white petals that are often tinged with pink or purple. Leaves are small and pointed. stiff aster, Ionactis linariifolius, can be found on dry sandy or rocky soil. This is a short plant with violet flowers and a stiff stem. An insect visiting an aster flower usually pollinates the outer band of female, pistillate florets before moving to the center of the flower to pick up more pollen from the staminate, yellow center. Native Americans used asters to make smoke to attract deer, and also as incense in sweat baths.

More information

US Department of Agriculture