Purple and Gold: A Royal Autumn Display
In my area, this is a season where you can find fields of bright gold and purple. These colours are brought to you mostly by goldenrod, and a purple flower that I finally just identified today. I’ve already done goldenrod (featured here), so I thought I should introduce its buddy.
Today’s species of the week is:
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Paired with the stunning gold of goldenrod (please do not mistake it with ragweed), you will very often find these complementary purple flowers right next door. (It’s funny how nature does that sometimes. I wonder why. Did our artistic rules about aesthetic matching develop from nature? That’s an interesting question….someone should look into that. But, as usual….I digress.)
There are quite a few different asters. The New England one seems to be the closest fit. The Ontario wildflowers site also says it is the most common. If you happen to disagree with my identification, please let me know.
New England Asters display large (3cm), rose-purple flowers with very numerous petals in the summer and fall. Centres are yellow. Flower heads cluster at the end of branches. They show up in open areas, fields and roadsides. The leaves are clasping (meaning they surround the stem).
New England Asters are popular with bees and butterflies, supplying an important source of nectar. The flower is supposedly edible, and put in salads by some. However, please don’t take my word on that. I have not tried them.
As an interesting side note, it was used by the Iroquois (First Nation) in love potions!
Here is another blog post about New England asters:
Posted on October 2, 2013, in Species of the week, Uncategorized and tagged asters, bees, butterflies, edible wildflowers, goldenrod, nature, new england aster, purple flowers, solidago, species identification, species of the week, wildflowers. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.