Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

New England Aster

Autumn at Eloise Butler is the time of Asters and Goldenrods. By mid-august the first of these autumn flowers are starting to bloom and while some are short-lived, the many varieties will provide a pageant of colors from white to rose to blue and gold until the seasonal frost stops all growth. Here are the main actors in this play. You can fine more photos and information on each plant in the "site/archive" and by clicking the links provided on the plant names.

Wild Asters

Like star showers the wild asters, beloved by all, nod their heads in the rustling breezes of autumn. The picturesque beauty of natures last lovely gift of the season, range thru shades of sky-blue, purple, rose and white. There are no less than 25 species of wild aster in this locality adorning dry hills as well as fields and meadows and even the deep woods.

Altho the warm noon of autumn cools suddenly and a tangible coldness creeps over the earth with frost lying thick at dawn, the hardy asters remain untouched. Their beauty has given them a place in our cultivated gardens, where they are one of the pleasures of the mellow days of autumn.

Former Curator Martha Crone


Flat-top Aster
Flat-topped Aster (Doellingeria umbellata (Mill.)
White Wood Aster
White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata (L.) G. L. Nesom)
Large-leaved Aster
Bigleaf Aster (Large-leaved Aster) (Eurybia macrophylla L.)
Heart-leaf Aster
Heart-leaf Aster (Common Blue Wood Aster), (Symphyotrichum cordifolium (L.) G.L. Nesom).
Many Flowered Aster
White Heath Aster (Many-flowered Aster) (Symphyotrichum ericoides (L.) G.L. Nesom)
Smooth Aster
Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve (L.) A. Löve & D. Löve)
White Panicle Aster
White Panicle Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. lanceolatum (Willd.) Nesom)
Calico Aster
Calico Aster (Side-flowering Aster) (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (L.) A. Löve & D. Löve)
New England Aster
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) Nesom)
Azure Aster
Sky-blue Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense (Riddell) G.L. Nesom var. oolentangiense)
Ontario Aster
Ontario Aster (Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Wiegand) G.L. Nesom)
Red Stemmed Aster
Redstemmed Aster (Purplestem Aster) (Symphyotrichum puniceum (L.) A. Löve & D. Löve var. puniceum)
Silky Aster
Silky Aster (Western Silver Aster) (Symphyotrichum sericeum (Vent.) G.L. Nesom)
Short's Aster
Short's Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii (Lindl.) G.L.Nesom)
Arrow-leaved Aster
White Arrowleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum (Lindl.) G.L. Nesom)

“From year to year I become more and more attached to wild asters. They are so varied in color, habit, and form. The one I look at last, I like best of all.” Eloise Butler


Scientific names: In recent years botanists have reclassified many asters that were formerly in the genus Aster. The newer names are used here. Alternate common names are shown in (). Former Gardener Cary George once remarked that when so many varieties of Aster are growing in close vicinity to each other, they tend to hybridize and thus some are difficult to classify correctly. Details of the leaf structure of each aster will be found on the individual plant information pages.


The Goldenrods

When the wayside tangles blaze
In the low September sun,
When the flowers of Summer days
Droop and wither, one by one,
Reaching up through bush and brier,
Sumptuous brow and heart of fire,
Flaunting high its wind-rocked plume,
Brave with wealth of native bloom, -
Goldenrod!

Botanists have also done some reclassification of the Goldenrods. All were formerly in the Genus Solidago.

Poem taken from "Goldenrod" by Elaine Goodale Eastman (1863 - 1953)


Grass-leaved Goldenrod
Grass-leaved Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia (L.) Nutt. var. graminifolia.)
Stiff goldenrod
Stiff Goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigidum L.)
Canada Goldenrod
Late Goldenrod (Tall Goldenrod) (Solidago altissima L.)
Zig-Zag goldenrod
Zig-Zag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis L.)
Late Goldenrod
Giant Goldenrod (Smooth Goldenrod) (Solidago gigantea Aiton) Photo © Thomas G. Barnes, USDA-NRCS Plants Database.
Gray Goldenrod
Gray Goldenrod (Old-field Goldenrod) (Solidago nemoralis Aiton).
Riddell's Goldenrod
Riddell's Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii Frank)
Showy Goldenrod
Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa Nutt.)
Elm-leaved Goldenrod
Elm-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia Muhl. ex Willd.)