The Asters or Starworts come tripping along toward the last of August, with the Golden-rods, and continue throughout September and most of October in such profusion that they appear to completely smother everything with their beautiful starry flowers. Without the Asters, the glorious American autumn would lose much of its lovely charm, for every roadside, fence-row, field, meadow and hillside is brilliantly spangled with their scintillating and billowy radiance, and I have often surmised that perhaps Dame Nature rehearsed them annually for a grand snow-scene tableau. Subject to great variation, big and little, short and tall, dense and sparse, ragged and tidy, they become highly confusing, and it takes considerable patience and experience to distinguish a majority of the two hundred and fifty species existing in North America. The word Aster is derived from the Greek, meaning star, and it alludes to their pretty radiating flower heads. Asters are perennial, mostly branching, and late-flowering herbs with alternating leaves. They are rarely annual, and grow from six inches to eight feet in height, and possess Daisy-like flowers varying in size from one-eighth of an inch to two inches broad. The floral heads are seldom solitary, and are usually arranged in terminal groups or clusters of both tubular and radiate flowers. The white, pink, purple, blue or violet ray flowers are pistillate. The tubular disc flowers are perfect, with five-lobed corollas, usually yellow and changing to red, brown or purple. The fading flower usually develops tiny whiskered seeds, that sail hither and thither with the wind, much after the fashion of those of the Dandelion. The coloured rayed species greatly outnumber the white-rayed, but the latter are so very prolific and abundant that they do not appear in the minority. Some species have very long recurving ray flowers, and the latter are found in every degree of length down to one species, A. augustus, which has the corolla of its ray flowers reduced to a mere tube.