July 21, 2017

Rough and Tough

Eurybia radula - Rough wood aster

Eurybia radula – Rough wood aster | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Autumn means aster season, especially in Maine. Meet Eurybia radula, commonly known as rough wood aster (and also low rough aster and rough-leaved aster). The “rough” adjective is no fluke: The plant can be identified by the rough texture of its stems. Growing anywhere from 1 to 3 feet in height, E. radula is topped by flowers with pale violet rays surrounding a yellow disk. This perennial herb, photographed in Baxter State Park in September, is native to eastern North America from Newfoundland and west to Ontario and south to Kentucky. In New England, it is present in all the states but is endangered in Connecticut. Its preferred habitat are wet woods and swamp, which is yet another appellation for it. Yes, it’s also called swamp aster.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.

Earlier in 2012, Glen began working to catalog the plants of Baxter State Park, which you can read about here and find out how to sponsor a plant of your own. Courtesy of a poll taken earlier this year, Garden Maine is sponsoring this lovely plant.