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.
The only species we have to allude to under this head is the all-familiar China Aster, sometimes called Aster Sinensis. This genus is characterised by having an involucre of many fringed bracts, a pitted naked receptacle, and a double pappus. The name is from beautiful, and a crown.
1. C. hortensis. China Aster, Reine-Marguerite. - This beautiful plant was introduced towards the end of the last century, and was raised in the Jardin des Plantes of Paris from seeds sent thither from China by the Jesuit missionary, Father d'ln-carville. Being of annual duration, and incapable of being propagated except from seeds, numerous varieties have resulted from its extensive cultivation. In the wild state the flowers are single, that is to say, only the outer florets are strap-shaped, and usually of a rosy-lilac tint, with yellowish disk-florets.
But under cultivation all the florets have become ligulate or quilled, and a richness and varietyof colouring has been developed scarcely surpassed in anyone species,ranging from pure white to deep carmine and violet and nearly blue, though the yellow of the disk in the single has not been reproduced in the double forms. We are mainly indebted to French horticulturists, notably Truffaut, Fontaine, and Vilmorin, for the great perfection to which the different races have been brought. ' It is worthy of remark that these varieties are so far fixed that they will come true from carefully harvested-seed. The garden varieties belong to two distinct classes.
Fig. 123. Aster, Pieony-flowered. (1/4 nat. size.)
Fig. 124. Aster, Truffaut's Perfection. (1/4 nat. size.)
I. Pyramidal Asters, including the Paeony-flowered (fig. 123), Truffaut's Perfection (fig. 124), Ranunculus-flowered Pompon, etc.
II. Anemone or Quilled Asters, including the excessively-dwarf varieties.
Both classes have their admirers, and both are equally rich in colour; but all things considered, some of those belonging to the former are to be preferred where both are not grown.
Vittadinia australis or triloba is an Australian annual of dwarf habit, bearing solitary terminal Daisy-like flower-heads, at first white, ultimately changing to red.