Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Purple fall asters

with 59 comments

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on November 11th it was hard not to keep taking pictures of the purple fall asters, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, which were in their prime.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 16, 2019 at 4:50 AM

59 Responses

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  1. The photos of the purple asters are in perfect harmony with the name of your blog, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    December 16, 2019 at 8:51 AM

    • While I show many other things from nature in this blog, wildflowers remain the heart of it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2019 at 5:07 PM

  2. I know just how you feel~this is one of my favorite asters.

    melissabluefineart

    December 16, 2019 at 9:46 AM

    • It’s hard to beat that purple. This is one of several aster species in Austin, but not the one I see most often.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2019 at 5:11 PM

      • Same here; there is a large colony of it at Moraine Hills State Park, but not elsewhere that I’ve seen.

        melissabluefineart

        December 17, 2019 at 9:25 AM

  3. These are some of my favorites. I’ve ordered them from American Meadows and it took about two years before I finally saw the blooms.

    NJUrbanForest

    December 16, 2019 at 2:25 PM

  4. Why would you stop? They were beautiful and making the most is the sensible thing to do. Nice to see them in December.

    Steve Gingold

    December 16, 2019 at 6:51 PM

    • I took at least a couple of dozen pictures of the asters at the Wildflower Center. I don’t know if any of those plants are still flowering this far into December.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2019 at 7:50 PM

      • I wasn’t suggesting that they were, just that it was nice to see them in your photograph.

        Steve Gingold

        December 17, 2019 at 1:49 AM

        • O.K. It’s not unusual to find some wildflowers in Austin still doing their thing in December, so these might still be putting out a few flowers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 17, 2019 at 3:44 AM

          • Guess it’s a bit of a ride for you to find that out right now. Nice to know and it won’t be long before Texas has wildflowers blooming in profusion again.

            Steve Gingold

            December 17, 2019 at 4:06 AM

            • You said it: it’s something like 27 hours to get home from here (where it’s 6:16 PM).

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 17, 2019 at 4:16 AM

              • You are either 13 hours ahead of us or 11 hours behind. The International Date Line always confuses me.

                Steve Gingold

                December 17, 2019 at 4:20 AM

                • In the Philippines we’re 13 hours ahead of you. For you it’s 7:32 on Tuesday morning now, and over here it’s 8:32 on Tuesday evening.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 17, 2019 at 6:32 AM

                • Thanks for clarifying that.

                  Steve Gingold

                  December 17, 2019 at 4:08 PM

                • Sure thing. It’s a fact I live with every day on this trip as I need to coordinate with people or businesses back home.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 17, 2019 at 4:13 PM

          • Linda commented (below) that she still found a few asters this past Sunday, “but their numbers were much diminished, and most were seriously faded. it is December, after all!”

            Steve Schwartzman

            December 17, 2019 at 4:02 PM

  5. Purple is a traditional liturgical color for Advent, so this is a perfect posting for the season. That aside, both photos are glorious: the first for the broad swath of color, and the second for the incredible sharpness and detail. I found a few asters blooming on Sunday, especially in sheltered spots, but their numbers were much diminished, and most were seriously faded. it is December, after all!

    shoreacres

    December 17, 2019 at 7:34 AM

    • I didn’t plan purple flowers to coincide with Advent, so it’s lagniappe that they do. Also a bonus were the acorns in the first picture, in a different way. In the wild I don’t think I’ve ever found purple asters growing as abundantly as they were at the Wildflower Center, where they got regular watering and probably other care.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2019 at 4:08 PM

  6. Purple asters are among my favorite flowers!

    Lavinia Ross

    December 17, 2019 at 1:43 PM

    • It’s easy to see why. The ones at the Wildflower Center were as lush as any I’ve ever seen.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2019 at 4:09 PM

  7. The colors in the second flower are gorgeous. I’d love to see a group of low-growing asters like the first image.

    tomwhelan

    December 17, 2019 at 9:12 PM

  8. Dainty! I would love this in my garden.

    Lynda

    December 18, 2019 at 6:43 AM

    • “Dainty” is a good word for this. I assume you have some aster species in Alabama, though not necessarily this one.

      Good morning to you over there from us close to bedtime in the Philippines.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 18, 2019 at 6:49 AM

      • We do! However they are tall and somewhat straggly looking. At least the ones I have seen. Perhaps a bit of pruning would get them to thicken up? Or maybe cause them to not bloom at all…? I will try it on one of them this next warm season. And who knows?

        Lynda

        December 18, 2019 at 6:55 AM

      • Actually, I just looked these up on the USDA site and they are supposed to be native in our state. I will have to keep a sharper eye out for them!

        Lynda

        December 18, 2019 at 6:58 AM

  9. Beautiful, Steve! I like the perspective from the top of both the grouping and the single blossom.

    Ellen Jennings

    December 18, 2019 at 12:28 PM

    • Downward is a direction I aim in less often than others because it often shows unwanted junk on the ground. In these two pictures downward worked just fine, in the first case because of the welcome acorns and in the second because I was close enough to the subject that the ground lost all definition.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 18, 2019 at 4:01 PM

  10. Beautiful images Steve! Enjoy seeing them!

    Reed Andariese

    December 18, 2019 at 2:34 PM

  11. These delicate disks and rays exude such good cheer, Steve, especially when they smile in unison.

    tanjabrittonwriter

    December 18, 2019 at 10:38 PM

  12. Such delightful flowers … 🙂

    Julie@frogpondfarm

    December 22, 2019 at 12:33 PM

  13. I love asters, and your images are really special, Steve – I’ve never seen a view like the first one. I like the flat look of it, and the acorns are a fun detail. The closeup is perfection, with those few little yellow disc flowers open and the rest closed. Great stuff!

    bluebrightly

    December 28, 2019 at 8:18 PM

    • I don’t see such lush spreads of purples asters in the wild as I did that day at the Wildflower Center. Irrigation and care account for the difference, I assume. The closeup of the individual flower head is more what I’m used to.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2019 at 9:01 PM

  14. Beautiful flowers! It brightens the day!

    Leif Price

    May 14, 2020 at 3:22 AM


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