Aster of the fall

It took me a minute to identify this one. Ubiquitous in all open spaces around the farm – it can get to 5 or 6 feet if it doesn’t topple over. These pictures don’t do it justice – from afar, it looks like a living snowdrift. And up-close, it is a pollinator magnet – particularly bees. The honeybees love it! But so too do all manner of bumblebee.

I feel fairly certain that this is Symphyotrichum pilosum, heath aster or white oldfield aster.

10182017 aster 2

Here, it’s upright growth habit may be evident. Again, this one is not flower as prolifically as a typical specimen in the area.

10182017 aster 1

This botanical illustration is what helped me conclude that this was S. pilosum. the forb-like growth on the right is indicative of young growth (about 6-8 inches) for the first few weeks or months – somewhat misleading as to how the plant will turn out.

symphyotrichum pilosum
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 430.

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