New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae [previously Aster novae-angliae])
 
 
 

New England aster is a member of the Aster (Asteraceae) family.  They are showy plants which can grow to 6 feet tall with hairy stems and leaves.  Leaves are alternate up to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide, with broad, clasping bases and pointed tips.  Individually stalked flower heads are in an open, rounded cluster at the tops of the main stem branches.  Each head is about 1 1/2 inches wide, with 40 or more bright purple, petal-like ray flowers surrounding a central yellow disk.  Ray flowers can also be pinkish purple or pale lavendar.

Blooming in late summer to fall, the New England aster is frequent throughout the tallgrass region in wet to mesic prairies and moist open areas.

This is a widely cultivated aster and can be grown easily from seed.  It has some weedy tendencies and may spread into moist ditches and open thickets.


Additional information about this plant may be found at the USDA PLANTS Database:

http://plants.usda.gov/java/nameSearch?keywordquery=Aster+novae-angliae+&mode=sciname