COMPOSITE FAMILY - Compositae: White Asters or Starworts
In dry, open woodlands, thickets, and roadsides, from August to October, we find the dainty White Wood Aster (A. divaricatus)--A. corymbosus of Gray--its brittle zig-zag stem two feet high or less, branching at the top, and repeatedly forked where loose clusters of flower-heads spread in a broad, rather flat corymb. Only a few white rays--usually from six to nine--surround the yellow disk, whose florets soon turn brown. Range from Canada southward to Tennessee.
The bushy little White Heath Aster (A. ericoides) every one must know, possibly, as Michaelmas Daisy, Farewell Summer, White Rosemary, or Frost-weed; for none is commoner in dry soil, throughout the eastern United States at least. Its smooth, much-branched stem rarely reaches three feet in height, usually it is not more than a foot tall, and its very numerous flower-heads, white or pink tinged, barely half an inch across, appear in such profusion from September even to December as to transform it into a feathery mass of bloom.
Growing like branching wands of golden-rod, the Dense-flowered, White-wreathed, or Starry Aster (A. multiflorus) bears its minute flower-heads crowded close along the branches, where many small, stiff leaves, like miniature pine needles, follow them. Each flower measures only about a quarter of an inch across. From Maine to Georgia and Texas westward to Arizona and British Columbia the common bushy plant lifts its rather erect, curving, feathery branches perhaps only a foot, sometimes above a man's head, from August till November, in such dry, open, sterile ground as the white Heath Aster also chooses.