New England Aster: The End of Summer

Since April 23, I have written about different wildflowers of Eliza Howell Park 10 times. The flowers have been irresistible this year and I have been excited to learn that the park has even more species than I had thought.

As summer ends, the flowers are fading fast. One more species should be featured, however, before the flower season is totally over: New England Aster.

I have long thought that the signature flower of September in Eliza Howell is Goldenrod. And it is dominant this month. But the bright purple aster is an additional highlight and the two go together extremely well.

New England Aster is a late season bloomer, found in open fields and at the edges of forest. It is native to much of North America.

Most of the asters in Eliza Howell grow to about 4 feet high, scattered in the wildflower prairie in the park, not forming large patches. They repeatedly invite me to get closer to admire both individual blooms and clusters.

I feature New England Aster as my last flower post of 2020 not because it is rare or unusual, but because it announces the end of sunmer. September is truly a month of transition for flowering plants in Southeast Michigan: at the beginning of the month many of the summer flowers continue to thrive; at the end of September there are very few that have not faded.

New England Aster is perhaps the brightest of the fall wildflowers.

Four months ago the alpha of this year’s featured flowers was the delicate Spring Beauty. I think New England Aster is a deserving onega.

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