Symphyiotrichum (Asteraceae)

Asteraceae includes about 33,000 species and 1900 genera of plants, which make it one of the largest in the plant kingdom. Because it includes all of the sunflowers, it is also one of the most well known genera.

Symphyotrichum novaeanglicae, New England Aster and Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (below), Panicled Asters are some of the latest blooming flowers in Gallup Park. They are rather abundant along the river and in and around the two wetland meadows. In the right sunlight, the beautiful purple inflorescences seem to be almost floating above the stems.

Native Americans, before we got them hooked on tobacco, used to smoke the Aster roots to attract animals while hunting. I am not sure what kind of animals. Seems they must have given up smoking a long time ago. I found several references that it was also useful for treating poison sumac rashes.

My guess is these beauties are deer resistant also as they are so plentiful and growing in the same places each year. Save yourself some money and plant these herbaceous perennials in your gardens. They continue to attract pollinators long after the other wildflowers have disappeared.

Photo by Stewart V. Nelson, 2018 ©️ Some rights reserved

Photo by Stewart V. Nelson, 2018 ©️ Some rights reserved

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