Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

Some how this post was not published this fall. Not sure how that happened but here it is. Better late than never.

I was delighted two days ago to discover the first blooms of New England Asters.  In another few week this gorgeous flower will dominate a big part of the landscape in the wet lands along the Western Trail in Gallup.  The vivid purple coloring of the ray flowers and yellow disk florets will takeover from the Joe Pye and Ironweed that is waning.

Today I had the pleasure of conducting a tour for the 5-year old daughter of a friend along with her father and his mother-in-law.   Despite almost having to cancel due to bands of thunderstorms that moved through the area, it a was a most enjoyable walk made more special seeing my flowers through the eyes of a very curious young lady.  I have a granddaughter on the way as my youngest son and his wife are expecting a girl in November.  (FYI- My oldest son and his wife are expecting a boy in December.) I can’t wait to walk with her through the park even though it will be a few years from before that might happen.  If I could interest a young women to take a STEM pathway, it would be a great a legacy of my nascent botanical interests.  Who knows?

Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved.
photo by stewart Nelson, 2016, some rights reserved

Native Americans were known to smoke N.E. Asters to attract animals while hunting.  I suspect it just covered up the native’s scent so they could get closer to their prey. I can’t imagine any kind of smoke attracting an animal.  I guess this must be a pretty special plant for the Native Americans as they claim it could used as a “love potion.”  That story might be a bit hyperbole and that the potion was really just a clutch of the flowers picked especially for the women.  What lady can resist a clutch of flowers from a suitor looking to court her?

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