Family

Composite.

Colour

Bluish purple, or white.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

General.

Time of Bloom

Summer and early autumn.

"And everywhere the purple asters nod And bend and wave and flit."

Roadside Asters 239

Aster patens, late purple aster, Plate CXXXIII, appears along the roadsides in early August, and is one of the first shadowy prophecies of the approaching autumn, It is a large, beautiful species with solitary Mower-heads, a half inch to two inches in diameter, and borne at the end of rough, spreading branches. It is readily known by its lanceolate, clasping upper leaves and the heart-shaped ones of the lower stem.

A. Iaevis, smooth aster, Plate CXXXIII, is a similar species, only its flower-heads are clustered together in a panicle. Its colour is not such a deep purple as that of A. patens, and it seldom reaches over two feet high. It lives by the roadsides or in the open wood borders, and is one of the most lovely of the family.

A. cordifolius is the tiny pale blue aster with the saucy little dark disk-flowers that peep through the fences along the roadsides. Its flower-heads are numerous in a loose panicle; and its leaves, as its name indicates, are heart-shaped. The plant is smooth in texture.

A. ericoides, white heath aster, is the familiar tiny white aster that is so conspicuous along the roadsides. It grows about a foot high, and bears innumerable flower-heads on its wiry spreading branches.

A. divaricatus, white wood aster, is also noticeable along the roadside and by thin borders of open woods. It has but few, six to nine, white rays in loosely clustered flower-heads. The leaves are long, narrow, and grow upon zigzag stems.

As the golden-rods, the asters are a peculiar feature of the unrivalled tints of the American autumn.

"There is a lesson in each flower, A story in each stream and bower; In every herb on which you tread, Are written words, which rightly read Will lead you from earth's fragrant soil, To hope and holiness and God."

Allen Cunningham.