This week on Discover Nature, we’ll look for one of Missouri’s late-blooming native wildflowers.
The New England aster is the tallest of Missouri’s native asters – growing up to eight feet – dotted with dozens of quarter-sized flower heads, usually in shades of purple, with a yellow disk in the center.
Members of the Daisy family, these hardy wildflowers tend to bloom earlier than most other asters, and stay in flower for longer.
Look for these flowers from August through October in bottomland prairies, or moist depressions of upland prairies, fens, bases of bluffs, stream banks, pond- and lake edges, as well as pastures, fencerows, ditches, railroads and roadsides.
Many bees, flies, butterflies, and skippers visit the flowers, aiding the cross-pollination process on which these flowers depend for reproduction. Moth caterpillars and various other insects eat the leaves. Deer and some other mammals eat the foliage, and wild turkeys eat the seeds.
Learn more about Missouri’s native wildflowers that bloom in fall, with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online Field Guide, and find places to go see Missouri’s colorful autumn landscape with their online Atlas.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.