This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
A genus of about 200 species, chiefly from North America. The majority are perennials, often tall and leafy, having the flower-heads arranged in racemes or panicles. Involucral bracts multiseriate. Ray-florets uniseriate, female. Pappus of numerous unequal hispid bristles. Our native Michaelmas Daisy, A. Tripolium, is a good example. is the Greek for star, hence the English name Star-flower. The following is a selection of some of the most desirable species.
1. A. grandiflorus (fig. 122). - One of the most distinct species in its solitary flower-heads and small upper leaves. It grows about a yard high, and produces its large purple flowers in October. North America.
Fig. 122. Aster grandiflorus. (1/4 Hat. size.)
3. A. alpinus. - A handsome dwarf plant about 9 inches high with spathulate crowded radical leaves and solitary flower-heads on erect scapes. Flowers lilac-blue, or more rarely white, appearing in May and onwards. Mountains of Europe.
4. A. bicolor, syn. A. discolor. - About 18 inches or 2 feet high. Leaves lanceolate, toothed. Corymbs broad, many-headed. Flowers white or rose, passing into purple, produced towards the end of Summer. North America.
5. A. Nbva-Angliae. - A tall hairy species sometimes attaining 6 or 7 feet in height. Leaves lanceolate, sessile, and stem-clasping. Corymbs large, dense. Flower-heads large and showy, purple or red. A native of North America, flowering in September and October.
6. A. Iaevis. - A glabrous plant about 2 feet high. Leaves oblong, shining. Flowers bright blue, in September. North America.
A. ccespitbsus,A. horizontalis, A.formosissimus, A. elegans, A. sericeus, and A. pyrenaeus are also showy species, but too near some of the foregoing to be desirable except in botanical collections.
The Australasian genus Eurybia furnishes some handsome evergreen shrubby species, which will succeed in the Southwest of England with slight protection in very severe weather.