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New England Aster


Common Name New England Aster

Latin Name: (New taxonomic name) Symphyotricum novae-angliae

[Pronounced: "Simf-ee-oh-TRI-cum NOV-ee-ANG-lye-ee"]

(Old taxonomic name) Aster novae-angliae

[Pronounced: "Aster NOV-ee-ANG-lye-ee"]

Type of Plant: Prairie Forb

Identification Helps: Moderate to tall, to 6-ft, with prominent lavender or purple flowers, often in large clusters at the top of the plant. The stem is rough or hairy.

Similar Species: Several other asters have purple or lavender flowers, but they are not as tall nor as common.

Preferred Growing Conditions in the Wild: This common prairie forb grows in mesic to wet soils, in all but dry sand.

Seasons of Growth and Bloom: This forb blooms at the very end of the prairie blooming season, with blooms beginning typically in early September, but more prominently in late in the season into October. It is among the last prairie flowers to bloom.

Natural Distribution in Ohio: New England Aster is one of the few native prairie plants that naturally "escaped" the prairie and commonly grows in non-prairie habitats in old fields, in ditches, and other un-mowed open areas.

Description and General Information: Symphyotricum novae-angliae is not easily overlooked. Its prominent color stands out in the fall when other prairie vegetation is beginning to fade.

Although it would make a colorful garden plant, when used in gardens, the species tends to flop, unsupported by adjacent grasses or other vegetation.

The genus Aster has recently been struck. DNA studies have shown that no Ohio species belongs in the Old World genus Aster. All Ohio Aster species have been given new technical names, as noted at the top for New England Aster.