Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A rather different aster

with 11 comments

Symphyotrichum ericoides; click for considerably more detail.

While the Symphyotrichum subulatum that you saw yesterday is a diffuse aster whose flower heads grow in relative isolation, Symphyotrichum ericoides, known as heath aster, can produce dense masses of flowers like the ones shown here. I photographed them on the Blackland Prairie along the far eastern edge of Austin on November 3. This picture is good evidence that the prolonged drought hasn’t deterred these asters at all.

For more information about Symphyotrichum ericoides, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in North America where heath asters grow, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 11, 2011 at 5:37 AM

11 Responses

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  1. Hi Steve. A ‘symphony’ of asters! Your photo shows every petal. Jane

    jane tims

    November 11, 2011 at 6:27 AM

    • I appreciate your floral-to-musical synesthesia, Jane. The original picture is a lot larger and shows even more detail.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 11, 2011 at 7:32 AM

  2. We have a white one here, but it is tall, and straggly. I like the look of this one.


    November 11, 2011 at 10:04 AM

  3. That so many wildflowers have survived that drought is at once amazing and comforting.


    November 11, 2011 at 11:50 PM

  4. […] was going to show you a closer look at heath asters in today’s post, but yesterday some fall color intervened, so here it is, hot off the […]

  5. The picture reminds me of snowflakes on pine branches.

    It’s cold today.


    November 12, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    • I can see how the weather in Germany has set your mind thinking. The day when I took this picture was windy but not cold. Austin is far enough south that we get a little bit of snow here on average only once every five years, although atypically we had one snowfall in 2009 and another in 2010; last year the weather was cold enough that the snow even stayed on the ground for a couple of days rather than melting after a few hours.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2011 at 6:38 AM

  6. […] days ago you got a panoramic view of some densely flowering heath asters Symphyotrichum ericoides, and now here’s a closer look. Most of this species’ flower […]

  7. […] first saw prairie flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata, in this column when I interrupted an aster sequence to show you a welcome display of fall color that I ran into on November 11. On the alert for more […]

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