Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New England aster

What we call the New England aster is native to Indiana too. It appears in old fields and woods edges as clumps of purple flowers in a perfect complement to the yellows of the goldenrod that grow there too, and nobody plants it. It's just there, as much a part of the Indiana season as the red leaves of sumac or football.

Aster novae-angliae is an obsolete botanical name for the New England aster, recently botanists have decided that the North American asters should be pretty much placed into a separate genus from Aster, that genus is Symphyotrichum. The current name of the New England aster is now Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) G.L. Nesom. The L. in parentheses stands for Linnaeus who gave this plant the original name of Aster novae-angliae. The G.L. Nesom outside the parentheses is the guy you can blame for having to change all the paperwork referring to this plant.

Link to taxonomy of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) G.L. Nesom:

Link to treatment of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae in Flora of North America:

Link to Symphyotrichum genus:

The pictures here are of a dwarf commercial cultivar of New England aster called 'Purple Dome'. You can find the plant in the pictures at the Purdue Horticulture Gardens behind the Horticulture Building on campus. These pictures were taken September 10, 2009, and the plant is just beginning to flower, the flowers should be more profuse by now.

Link to Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Purple dome':

Another link to Symphyotrichum novae-angliae:

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