Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for November 10th, 2011

Hierba del marrano

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What would fall be without asters? In the case of Symphyotrichum subulatum, a widely dispersed aster, we don’t even have to wait till fall, because this species has a bloom period that begins in July (and typically lasts through November). Although this plant can sometimes be found in lawns, where frequent mowing keeps it cropped to within an inch of the ground, a fully grown plant is diffuse, gangly, much-branched, and at times as tall as a person. Because of that structure, some have called the plant wireweed; others know it as saltmarsh aster, slim aster, and baby’s breath aster. The Spanish name, which has made its way into the vocabulary even of some English speakers, is hierba del marrano, which we can loosely translate as pig plant, or less charitably as pig weed. Today’s picture gives the view from below of a terminal stalk of this type of aster, with a dainty flower head measuring at most half an inch across. No weed, this.

For more information about Symphyotrichum subulatum, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in North America where the species grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 10, 2011 at 5:23 AM

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