Tag: Calico Aster

  • Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)

    Photographed October 4.

    Formerly Aster latiflorus (-us instead of –um because Aster is masculine). These are the asters with tiny flower heads, often hundreds of them thickly covering the whole plant, that you see everywhere at the edges of lawns, in sidewalk cracks, and popping out from under hedges. Calico Asters (as we mentioned once before) are quite variable. “Consists of many races,” say Britton & Brown of this species, “differing in leaf-form, inflorescence and pubescence.” “Extensively variable,” says Gray. In other words, asters thumb their noses at the notion of a “species.” These are worth looking at with a magnifying glass: the disk flowers (the ones that make up the center of the flower head) look like little starfish, changing from pale translucent yellow through pink to deep rose. Flowers at all stages are on the plant at once, giving it the calico effect for which it is named.