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New England Aster, Michaelmas-daisy - Symphyotrichum novae-angliae


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Aster Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae - New England Aster, Michaelmas-daisy. Symphyotrichum is a huge genus with around 90 species, with over 75 being found in North America. It was formerly part of the huge Aster genus, which received major reclassification in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, being split primarily between Symphyotrichum(90+ species) and Eurybia (23), with a few species also being reclassified into Ampelaster (1), Doellingeria (3), Ionactis (5), Oclemena (4), and Sericocarpus (5). Symphyotrichum novae-angliae has synonyms of Aster novae-angliae, Lasallea novae-angliae, and Virgulus novae-angliae.

New England Aster is perhaps one of the best known Asters, and with good reason. It is quite a showy plant, sometimes with hundreds of large, colorful deep purple to pink compound flowers on leafy plants growing to 4, 5, or occasionally even 6 feet tall, seen in open wooded areas, meadows, prairies, and along streams, but especially visible along many roadsides. It also has very wide distribution, being found in 42 of the 50 states, and most of Canada. (The reports of the plant in California may be historic or, as in Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, of naturalized garden escapees.) It's especially common in the Upper Midwest and (reasonably) the New England states. It also has a fairly long blooming season, starting to bloom in early August and blooming until first frost.

Found in:
AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

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Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Distribution of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 22 Aug 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Stow, Summit County, OH Date: 2014-September-29Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The ray florets of New England Aster are usually a shade of deep rose to deep purple, although in some cases they may be paler, ranging to pink and sometimes even white. The disc florets are yellow, becoming a brownish purple with age.
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Site: Stow, Summit County, OH Date: 2014-September-29Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The involucre bracts of New England Aster are in several rows, and are green with purple tinges. They are long with pointed tips (not spiked) and covered with sticky glandular hairs, as are the peduncles.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Site: Stow, Summit County, OH Date: 2014-September-29Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The blossom of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is one of the larger Aster flowers, as indicated by its inclusion in section Grandiflori. It has more ray florets than many of the similar species - usually 50 to 75, sometimes fewer (I count 42 on this blossom) or even as many as 100. There are also 50 to over 100 disc florets.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Site: Stow, Summit County, OH Date: 2014-September-29Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
While Symphyotrichum novae-angliae has sessile basal and lower stem leaves, they are usually withered by flowering. Many upper leaves will remain at flowering; they are oblong or lanceolate with entire margins and a leaf base that is auriculate-clasping. The stems are hairy (less so in the lower stem than upper) as are the leaves to one degree or another.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Site: Stow, Summit County, OH Date: 2014-September-29Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
New England Aster grows up to 6 feet tall, although it is more frequently in the 4-foot range. It can be multi-stemmed, but also can grow in large clumps of multiple plants, creating a beautifully showy patch of (usually) purple.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer