Friday, October 12, 2007

More asters

Here are two more asters; these bloom in early- to mid-October. The one in the top image is 'Raydon's Favorite', a cultivar of Aster oblongifolius (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium). The lower image is of Aster cordifolius (S. cordifolium). Both of these were photographed in late afternoon light when the sun was already low in the sky: this enhances the cool colors.
Aster cordifolius seeds itself around in this garden, for the most part inoffensively. The colors of the original stock were pale mauve, but the seedlings seem to be getting bluer over the years.
The late blooming asters are my favorites. Hmmm.....didn't I already say 'Bluebird' was my favorite? Any aster in full bloom is my favorite!
While looking at 'Raydon's Favorite' yesterday it occurred to me that the flowers look like those of Anemone blanda. Now I think of this aster as the Anemone blanda bush.
If you are not a botanist, you will probably be surprised (or simply confused) to hear that what we call a flower in an aster is in fact a much compressed branch with dozens of individual flowers of two types arranged in a flower-like formation. That's why the members of the greater group to which asters belong are called composites: what looks like a single flower is in fact a group of many flowers, a composition as it were.

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