The rich soil of the swamps and low grounds can boast as lovely members of the aster family as any field, or roadside bank. The common New England aster is tall and stately; from four to eight feet high. It is heavily foliaged with clasping, lanceolate leaves and its flower-heads are arranged in large, dense corymbs. The many rays are a beautiful violet purple, or sometimes a soft magenta.
A. puniceus is an accompanying flower of the swamps. It also is tall, but cannot vie with the above, as its utmost height appears to be about seven feet. Its long, slender rays vary in colour from pale lilac blue to dark purple. The leaves are long with a projection like ears at the base. On the upper side they are quite rough.
Doellingeria umbellata is the white representative of the swamps, and grows quite as tall as, if not taller than, the purple varieties. Its flower-heads are clustered rather flatly in compound corymbs: a mark by which it may be identified. The lower leaves are very long and the stem leafy to the top.
A. nemoralis, or bog aster, grows from one to two feet tall and has pretty lilac-rayed flowers. The leaves are sessile, long, rigid and distinctly marked by their margins that roll backwards. The plant is quite rough.
Sandy and dry-soil asters, Plate CXXXIII.
Plants Growing in Moist Soil: Low Meadows and by Running Streams.
''Now when it flowereth,
And when the banks and fields
Are greener every day, And sweet is each bird's breath
In the tree where he builds
Singing after his way, Spring comes to us with hasty steps and brief,
Everywhere is leaf, And everywhere makes people laugh and play."