July 20, 2017

Big Aster Name

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ssp. lanceolatum var. latifolium

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ssp. lanceolatum var. latifolium – White panicle aster | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Such a dainty bloom as pictured above might make you think it comes with a dainty moniker. Ah, no. Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ssp. lanceolatum var. latifolium would be what you are looking at, commonly called lance-leaved American aster or white panicle aster. This native plant gets an interesting description over at Go Botany, which tries to explain the somewhat confusing name game. The taxon is described as “highly variable” and is divided into two subspecies and a number of varieties. Three varieties grow in New England, with the one pictured sort of the middle child, with a reach that is widespread but not as common as one variety and not as rare as the third. As for this aster, photographed in September in Baxter State Park, it grows on the edges of wetlands and in meadows, fields and swamps. It has an alternate leaf arrangement and flowers, your typical ray with a center disk, can be blue to purple or white.

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.