New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae)
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Wild Flowers of Sleepy Hollow Lake
- New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) -
(Aster, New England - 01) We have found that the identification of specific species of asters to be among the most difficult of all wild flower species. This is because there are so many different species, and from our research, not even the experts seem to be able to agree on all aspects of the identification. As we continue, we will try to explain some of the easier ways to identify the New England aster, as well as the problems.
(Aster, New England - 01a) One of the more easily identifiable features of the New England aster is the large number of purple ray flowers, which should be forty or more. One source indicated that there could be as many as one-hundred. Another feature is the hairy stems and leaves, but this characteristic is not mentioned in most of the sources we reviewed.
(Aster, New England - 02) On the central flower in this photo, we counted at least 56 purple ray flowers surrounding the yellow disk. As they open, the disk flowers darken from yellow to an orange color.
(Aster, New England - 02a) What we normally see as the yellow disk is the bud stage of the disk flowers, which are clearly visible in this bee's eye view. Around the perimeter of the disk, we can see the open disk flowers with their stamens and pistil extending beyond the bowl of the flower.
(Aster, New England - 02b) In this close-up photo of the New England aster's ray flowers, we can see longitudinal veining and the pointed tips. To us, the ray flowers seem to be narrower than those of the similar New York aster, which also has fewer ray flowers. This feature, though not mentioned in the literature we reviewed, helps in identification. The actual length of the ray flowers is about one-half inch.
(Aster, New England - 03) The size of the fully opened New England aster flowers is between 1-1/4 and 1-1/2 inches across, placing them among the larger of the wild aster flowers.
(Aster, New England - 04) In this photo of the New England aster, we can see flowers in various stages of development from tightly closed buds to nearly fully matured flowers. One reference stated that the leaves can reach lengths of nearly four inches, but we have found them to be smaller, as shown in this photo.
(Aster, New England - 05) This is a fairly mature New England aster surrounded by several budding flower heads.
(Aster, New England - 05a) This is a closer look at the disk flowers of the New England aster in the previous photo. There seems to be no end to the marvelous beauty of God's creation!
(Aster, New England - 06) In this bee's eye view of the New England aster disk flowers, we can see that they're far more complex than the seemingly simple yellow center disk we observe when looking at these wildflowers along the side of the road or in a field.
(Aster, New England - 07) In this photo, we can see that the leaves of the New England aster are usually not much longer than the diameter of the flower. We can also see the very fine hairs that cover both the leaves and the stems.
(Aster, New England - 07a) Another look at the beauty of the New England aster.
(Aster, New England - 07b) The color of the New England aster ranges from a deep purple, which is unique among wild asters, to paler shades of purple, which is similar to other asters. In the latter case, the large number of ray flowers helps in identification.
(Aster, New England - 08) In this photo of the New England aster, we can see the way the lanceolate leaves grow alternately along the stem.
(Aster, New England - 09) According to the literature, the New England aster grows to heights of between three and seven feet. We have never seen a seven feet tall one, but have observed that the taller ones seem to be competing for sunlight, while the ones along the side of the road, where there is plenty of sunlight, usually grow to heights of only three or four feet.
| Wild Flowers of SHL: Photo Identification, Common Name, Scientific Name | Art and Photos |
Presented here are just a few of the countless components of God's creation. Just as we cannot have human and animal life without water and plants, neither can we have lasting peace without love and compassion. It is our hope and prayer that this series will motivate people to live and act in a cruelty-free manner; that we would no longer hurt or destroy each other, the animals or our environment.
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