Sunday, October 10, 2010

Asters aplenty

These days I'm enjoying all of the asters that are blooming in the woodlands, meadows, fields and roadside ditches. They seem to be everywhere. The aster family (also known as the composite family) is a large one, and contains many flowers that we may not immediately identify as asters, such as Dandelions, Chicory, Ironweed, Joe Pye Weed, and yarrow to name a few, as well as various coneflowers, sunflowers and daisies (the family is also called the daisy or sunflower family). But come fall, I think many of us could look at a plant and correctly conclude "That's an aster."

As to what species in particular, I can only readily identify the showiest of them all, the New England Aster, shown here:

In the same field I found this specimen...

... and this one that is similar, but obviously not the same.

In our woods we have lots of these, which I believe to be White Wood Aster.

It seems to change color from white and yellow to pink and purple with age.

If anyone out there knows of a good guide to asters, I'd love to hear about it!


Ruthi said...

your macro shots are awesome. so vivid, so sharp. great capture, great composition. love them.

Monika said...

It definitely is a tough flower family to sort out, but they sure are beautiful. I especially love your third shot of the New England Aster - those soft colors are stunning!

Judy said...

wonderful asters!! ours are about done now. i esp love the shadows in the first shot, and the angle in the second!!

Heather said...

Ruthi, Monika, Judy - Thank you so much for your nice comments.

The Early Birder said...

Deligtful macros of a family that certainly brighten up these cooler autumnal days.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Glorious photos!! and a glorious renovation going on. Here's to ya! Have been thinking of you.

I have had a rosepink gentian plant marked all summer, waiting for the seed capsules to be anything other than bullet-hard and green. Just went out and they're unchanged, but amazingly, the plant's still standing. Broke one capsule open that was turning brown and it's full of almost dust-fine ripe seeds. Have you checked yours lately? I think we should cultivate it, don't you?

I'll have plenty seeds here so no need to send. The instructions I found were that she sowed them outside in the fall under row covers (which I guess is that fine cloth people use to prevent frost from killing things) and they came up in spring very thickly. She said she wished she'd sown them much thinner, because germination was so good. Makes sense for a plant that needs disturbed soil-must be avid germinators given the right conditions. Yay! I cannot wait. I'm imagining pots of the stuff to set out. My favorite wildflower.

I plan to sow them in pots on the floor of my greenhouse, which will keep them nice and cold until spring, and see what happens. Just wanted to give you a heads up to go check your plants if you've any interest in propagating them.


Heather said...

JZ - I saw a lone Rosepink flower in bloom the other day and thought of you. Glad to hear you've got seeds. I haven't checked my seed capsules lately, but will look at them just to see what the seeds look like. As for propagating, I'm more of a "let's see what sprouts up here on its own" type of girl right now, but that could change in the future, so I'll tuck the planting advice away in case I need it later. Thank you for sharing that. By the way, I wanted to tell you that you could have just out-and-out called the crowd at the PawPaw Festival "hippies" in your post about the festival, and I don't think anyone would have been offended. There's lots of hippies over in this neck of the woods, and I think they would be proud to be called as such. Take care!