Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A closer look at heath asters

with 19 comments

Two 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 spikes are more horizontal than vertical, but once in a while one stands upright. I photographed these upstanding flowers in Manor, a town on the Blackland Prairie about ten miles east of Austin, on November 3.

For more information about this species, 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 13, 2011 at 5:17 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Any idea why some are yellow, and some purple? We have a ton of if not this same species, a similar one, up here in southern vermont. http://tinyurl.com/82gpjo2


    November 13, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    • Sorry, Sarah, I don’t know why the color of the disk flowers varies that way, and none of the books I’ve looked in offer an explanation. I wonder if the color darkens as the flowers age.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 13, 2011 at 9:28 AM

  2. I love how these looked a tower of daisies.

    Just A Smidgen

    November 13, 2011 at 12:53 PM

  3. I love these flowers. Thanks for sharing.


    November 14, 2011 at 6:50 AM

  4. Beautiful pic!


    November 14, 2011 at 7:48 AM

  5. I sat and stared at this photo for quite some time. The color and definition caught my eye, first. What is really fascinating, however, is all that shadow play from those intricate petals trapping the light.


    November 18, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    • I’m glad to have your artist’s eye turned loose on this picture. Like you, I’m often fascinated by shadows.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2011 at 9:59 AM

  6. Lovely set of colors and flowers 🙂


    November 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

  7. […] you can certainly see the resemblance to some of our other asters if you compare the photographs of heath aster and especially hierba del marrano (both of which are now usually put in the genus Symphyotrichum […]

  8. […] In a post on October 8th I asked “What would autumn be without asters?” The aster shown then was a species (I don’t know which one) that produces flower heads with some space separating them. In contrast, today’s photograph shows white heath aster, Symphyotrichum ericoides, which gives rise to dense masses of flower heads. (If you’d like a closer look at flowers of this species, you can check out a post from a year less a day ago.) […]

  9. I don’t believe that I have seen this species of aster. This is a pretty one for sure. I have a few that crop up here and there on my property but they are lanky and the flowers are sparse.- not denseley clustered in a beautilful bloom such as this. Mine bloom sometimes in late spring or even in the summer.


    November 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    • It’s quite widespread in the United States, so chances are good that you’ll eventually run across it. You may want to check the state-clickable USDA map to see how close to you the species has been reported:


      As you pointed out, the density of its flowers distinguishes this species from most of the other asters.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

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