Asteraceae Family:

Elephantopus carolinianus ( Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19, #627-6. The Elephantopus carolinianus is one of my favorite in the plant family Asteraceae.

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl

ass-ter-AY-see-ee
OR
ass-ter-AY-see-eye

The plant family Asteraceae was named and described by Bedřich (Friedrich) Všemír (Wssemjr) von Berchtold and Jan Svatopluk (Swatopluk) Presl in O Prirozenosti Rostlin in 1820.

Although Asteraceae is the correct and accepted name for this family now, the name Compositae is also still used. It seems that even though the family name is Asteraceae, it is still Compositae because of the flowers, which are composite. It is, of course, the Aster, Daisy, Composite, and Sunflower family. I guess I am not supposed to capitalize those names, but I like to anyway.

The plant Asteraceae is very complex and very large. As of 12-21-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 1,678. That number could change as updates are made on POWO.

Some information online varies from website to website because keeping up with name changes can be quite challenging. When The Plant List first came out, I was amazed but I kept having to change names. Even though the Plant List hasn’t been maintained since 2013, I still use it as a reference. The 2013 version of The Plant List included 1,911 genera in the plant family Compositae. It lists a total of 36,701 accepted species, 75,518 synonyms, 71 unplaced names, and 27,918 unassessed names. Of those names, 782 are recorded as invalid and 3,988 as illegitimate names. The Plant List was great and included a wealth of information (as far as numbers were concerned). Those in charge of plant names have come a long way since 2013 and should be congratulated.

For further information on this family of plants, please click on the links below. They take you directly to the page for the family. There is a lot of information online, but just remember it may not be up-to-date as far as accepted names and numbers are concerned. Plants of the World Online by Kew makes updates quite often and are continually working on the site. We are all a work in progress.

Besides growing several members of this species in flower beds, I have identified several wildflowers on the farm and other areas. You can click on the plant names under the photos to go to their own pages.

PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE
WIKIPEDIA
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA

Achillea millefolium flowers on 6-21-13, #156-2.

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) may be the most common species. It is found in almost every country in the world as a native or introduced species. There are A LOT of native Achillea millefolium here on the farm plus I have an old cultivar that was given to me by a friend when I lived in Mississippi. I brought them with me when I moved back here in 2013. I have also grown a few Achillea cultivars, but at the moment I don’t have any… The others eventually fizzled out or didn’t make it through the winter. I have an Achillea page that shows them all with links to their own page.

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Acmella repens (Oppositeleaf Spotflower) on 9-30-19.

I found this Acmella repens (Oppositeleaf Spotflower) growing by the barn in September 2019 and haven’t seen it anywhere since. I am sure it is here somewhere otherwise how did it get by the barn?

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Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot) on 9-6-18, #513-2

There are quite a few colonies of Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot) on the farm and throughout the eastern half of North America and even farther north in Canada. They are easily identified by their Ageratum-like flowers and kind of heart-shaped leaves.

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Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Common Ragweed) on 7-17-21, #813-2.

Of course, there are plenty of Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Common Ragweed) on the farm…

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Ambrosia trifida (Giant Ragweed) on 7-17-21, #813-10.

The Ambrosia trifida (Giant Ragweed) has a tendency to get carried away on the farm. There are several very large colonies that I need to work on…

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Arctium minus (Burdock) on 7-22-19, #604-1.

The Arctium minus (Burdock) is alive and well here on the farm with a couple of good-sized colonies. These plants can get quite tall…

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Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) on 7-8-21, #809-5.

It is hard to get the entire plant of the Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Pale Indian Plantain) in a photo because they grew fairly tall. I saw a large rosette of leaves in October 2018 along the edge of the south hayfield that I didn’t recognize. It wasn’t until 2021 that I figured the species out thanks to iNaturalist. Well, the area along the south hayfield had grown up in blackberry briars, Japanese Honeysuckle, small trees, etc. It was all mowed off and a new fence was put in in 2020 which allowed a lot of wildflowers to grow. There were only a couple of the Pale Indian Plaintain that flowered in 2021 but there are also A LOT of first-year plants. Likely, in 2022 there will be a lot more.

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Bidens aristosa (Tickseed Beggarticks) on 9-7-19, #625-1.

Bidens aristosa (Tickseed Beggerticks, ETC.) are growing in a few areas on the farm and many other farms. I have seen HUGE colonies that just make a pasture glow. They are quite similar to Bidens polylepis which some believe should be synonymous with Bidens aristosa… Honestly, I am not sure which are growing on the farm but I am sticking with Bidens aristosa for now. Supposedly, it is all about the difference in involucral bracts, but from one site to another they all look alike to me.

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Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) on 9-8-18, #504-11.

I think we all know what Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) are, at least where they grow. I remember as a kid, any kind of weed seed that stuck to my pants or socks were simply called sticktights. Now that I have started identifying wildflowers, I have to know their specific names. Even so, they usually just get called sticktights no matter what their common names really are. This wildflower is one of many you might prefer calling a weed…

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Bidens connata (Purple-Stemmed Beggarticks) on 9-18-19, #634-2.

I found a small colony of Bidens connata (Purple-Stemmed Beggarticks) growing behind the pond in the back pasture on 9-18-19. I thought they were pretty neat because the flowers had no ray florets (petals). That is a characteristic of this species and Bidens tripartita as well. However, the plants on my farm have purple stems where B. tripartita have green stems. I haven’t had a problem with their barbed seeds getting on my pants because I haven’t been around them after they have gone to seed.

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Calendula officinalis on 7-4-12, #108-2.

I always wanted to try Calendula officinalis (Pot or English Marigold), so I bought seeds in 2012 when I lived in Mississippi. I haven’t grown any since. I always liked their flat-looking flowers.

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Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) on 5-30-19, #578-7.

I remember seeing my first Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) growing next to the barn in 2015. I thought it was kind of neat because it wasn’t like the Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistles) I had been dealing with. It had these neat silvery-green leaves. I told dad I was going to leave it until it flowered so I could get photos. He looked at me like I was nuts. I rarely see a Musk Thistle on my farm, but my friend’s farm was a different story. He “had” thousands until he hired me to get rid of them in 2019. I didn’t think they were so neat after that… I spent weeks spraying and digging but I finally got the job done…

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Cichorium intybus (Chicory) on 8-1-21, #822-5.

Cichorium intybus (Chicory) can be seen along highways, back roads, and pastures throughout the country BUT I don’t seem to have any on my farm. I took the photos on their page on a friend’s farm not far away. They are an easy to identify species with their blue flowers.

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Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on 7-17-21, #813-18.

There are plenty of Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) on the farm, especially in the south hayfield. The above photo is only one small example. There are a couple of good-sized colonies that grow MUCH taller than me. The Cirsium altissimum is user-friendly without all the sharp, thorny leaves and stems. This is a native species and supposedly not invasive…

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Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle) on 6-7-16, #266-8.

There aren’t as many Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle) on the farm as there were a few years ago. Digging them up has stopped them from spreading although their seeds can last for YEARS! They can become invasive if not maintained…

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Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue Mist Flower) on 8-23-13, #178-48.

The start of Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue Mist Flower) in the flower bed was given to my dad by his Aunt Inez many years ago. I am trying to keep it going. I didn’t realize until recently it is also a native wildflower. It is certainly a species you don’t see that often while out walking (at least not here) or even in flower beds. There are many cultivars and they are certainly worth trying out. You can buy seeds online, but I haven’t seen them available at the local greenhouses or garden centers like years ago.

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Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’ on 6-21-13, #156-7.

A good friend and fellow plant collector gave me a start of Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’ when I lived in Mississippi. I brought it with me when I moved back to the family farm in 2013 but it had a bad issue with mildew in the late summer. It didn’t return in 2014…

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Curio talinoides var. mandraliscae (Blue Chalksticks) on 2-17-13, #139-62.

Well, didn’t have this Curio talinoides var. mandraliscae (Blue Chalksticks) very long. I bought it from the discount rack at Lowe’s in October 2012 and left it with a friend when I moved back to Missouri in February 2013. I have changed this plant’s name three times… The label said it was Senecio mandraliscae which became a synonym of Klenia mandraliscae. Then it changed again… I had issues growing Senecio, or whatever you call them, in the past but I brought it home since it was on the discount rack. It looked really good when I brought it home but the next thing I knew I was removing A LOT of dead leaves. It is one of several I am not sure why it is in the plant family Asteraceae

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Echinacea paradoxa Yellow Coneflower) on 7-17-19, #603-6.

I don’t have any Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower) growing on my farm. The above photo was taken on a back road south of town in 2019. Maps indicate they are present in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The subspecies Echinacea paradoxa var. neglecta is only found in Oklahoma and Texas.

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Echinacea purpurea cv. ? (Purple Coneflower) on 7-4-19, #598-1.

I don’t have any native Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) growing on my farm, but I brought several divisions home from a bed up the street from where I live. There are A LOT of native plants growing along the highway. I grew the cultivar ‘PowWow® Series’ in 2017.

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Elephantopus carolinianus ( Leafy Elephant’s Foot) on 9-9-19, #627-6.

I found my first Elephantopus carolinianus (Leafy Elephant’s Foot) in September of 2019 on a friend’s mother’s farm. I was driving cattle and running down a hillside when I spotted them. Luckily, I had my camera so after the cows were in the corral I went back to the hillside and took photos. THEN, in October 2021 I found a solitary plant in full sun in my south hayfield. I was not expecting that, especially where it was growing. The leaves and stems were a maroon color instead of green which could be due to it growing in full sun instead of a shady area… I had seen a plant earlier in a different location in the hayfield with maroon leaves which wasn’t in bloom. I thought the plant had some sort of an issue to have maroon leaves so I didn’t pay much attention. It could have been another Elephantopus… This is an odd species, especially its flowers…

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Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane) on 10-12-21, 843-16.

There are quite a few Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane) in the south hayfield but not many on the rest of the farm. They are easy to tell from Erigeron strigosus (Daisy Fleabane) by their broader leaves. They are kind of similar to species of Symphyotrchum but they have bigger yellow discs in the center of the flowers. Common names include Annual Fleabane, Daisy Fleabane, Eastern Daisy Fleabane, and probably others.

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Erigeron canadensis (Horsetail, ETC.) on 8-2-19, #609-7.

Of course, Erigeron canadensis (Horsetail) is easy to identify and there are plenty here on the farm and many other areas. You can drive down any back road, and even in town and see them. Even in cracks in the sidewalks and parking lots.

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Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort) on 9-8-18, #504-28.

There are several colonies (and single plants) of Eupatorium altissimum (Tall Thoroughwort) here on the farm. It is also called the Tall Boneset. It looks quite similar to Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset).

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Eupatorium perfoliatum (Comon Boneset) on 8-9-21, #823-12.

I always like looking at the leaves on the Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset). There are always several of these on the farm but not as many as the other two. They are most common in the southeast corner of the farm. Common names include Boneset, Common Boneset, American Boneset, Thoroughwort, Feverwort, Agueweed, Indian Sage, Sweating Plant, and probably others.

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Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset) on 8-30-19, #618-17.

The Eupatorium serotinum (Late Boneset) is one I often overlook and mistake for E. altissimum. Common names include Late Boneset and Late Thoroughwort.

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Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Arizona Sun’ on 6-27-15, #270-25.

My first experience with Gaillardia was when I was living in Mississippi. I had seeds that simply said “Gaillardia” which I planted. They came up and returned every year from seed. Then when I moved back here, I brought home plants from a local greenhouse whose label said Gaillardia grandiflora ‘Arizona Sun’. They are commonly referred to as the Blanket Flower.

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Gazania ‘Daybreak Red Stripe’ on 6-29-14, #230-50.

I haven’t grown any Gazania rigens (Treasure Flower) in my own beds since 2014 but I use them quite often in a friend’s combination planters. They always look great.

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Helenium flexuosum (Sneezeweed) on 7-17-13, #163-12.

I found this colony of Helenium flexuosum (Sneezeweed) in the pasture on my farm in 2013 but I haven’t seen any since. I thought it was a very neat plant and I have no idea why it disappeared. Common names include Purple-Headed Sneezeweed, Southern Sneezeweed, Purple Sneezeweed, Purplehead Sneezeweed, and perhaps others. I will keep checking…

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Lactuca canadensis (Canada Lettuce) on 8-2-19, #609-11.

There are always several Lactuca canadensis (Canada Lettuce) on the farm and throughout the countryside (and in town). Some of the plants in the back of the farm get very tall and have large stems, but the plants along the fence in the front pasture and other areas don’t get as big. I like their buds especially when they get closer to opening. Common names include Canada Lettuce, Tall Lettuce, and Tall Wild Lettuce.

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Lactuca floridana (Wild Lettuce) on 8-29-19, #617-14.

I think the Lactuca floridana (Wild Lettuce) is the neatest Lactuca species growing on the farm. I photographed it first in a shady area in August 2019 on the farm then again in July 2021 along the Katy Trail that runs along the south side of the farm. It wasn’t flowering then but the plants were upright compared to them sprawling a bit like they were on my farm in 2019. Common names include False Lettuce, Florida Blue Lettuce, Wild Lettuce, and Woodland Lettuce…

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Lactuca serriola (Prickly Lettuce) on 7-11-21, #810-10.

Lactuca serriola (Prickly Lettuce) is quite common on the farm and seems to grow mainly in fence rows and around buildings. I have been familiar with this species since I was a kid but hadn’t identified it until recently. I guess it is one of “those species” we have a tendency to take for granted we think of as a weed rather than a wildflower.

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Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ on 7-9-17, #355-29.

The Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ is a neat little plant I have grown a few times. I always liked its small, ferny, dark leaves and interesting flowers. I haven’t seen it available locally for a few years.

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Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy on 6-19-19, #592-22.

I found the Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-Eye Daisy) growing on a friend’s farm in 2019 but I haven’t seen any on my farm. Common names include Ox-Eye Daisy, Dog Daisy, Field Daisy, Marguerite, Moon Daisy, Moon-Penny, Poor-Land Penny, Poverty Daisy, and White Daisy.

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Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazing Star) on 7-22-21, #817-14.

I found this single Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazing Star) growing along a back road south of town on 7-22-21. I thought it may have been a Liatris spicata (Blazing Star) which is also a Missouri native. After I uploaded the observation on iNaturalist, a member suggested Liatris pycnostachya. I did some research and came to the conclusion he was right. Common names include Prairie Blazing Star, Tall Blazing Star,  Kansas Gayfeather, Cattail Gayfeather, Button Snakeroot, and possibly others.

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Liatris spicata on 7-9-17, #355-30.

Since I didn’t have any native Liatris growing on my farm, I brought home a pot of Liatris spicata (Blazing Star) from one of the local greenhouses in 2017…

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Matricaria discoidea (Pineapple Chamomile) on 5-17-18, #443-64.

There are always A LOT of Matricaria discoidea (Pineapple Chamomile) growing along the edge of the driveway in the gravel. I always thought that was weird. I have tried transplanting in the flower bed but they don’t like it in fairly loose soil. Later I read after you transplant it you have to stomp on the soil around it to make it hard. Hmmm… I always like how the scent of pineapple fills the air after I mow. Common names include Pineapple Chamomile, Pineapple Weed, and Disc Mayweed.

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Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ on 7-28-20, #731-1.

The Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldstrum’ (Orange Coneflower, ETC.) has always been a showstopper. A friend and fellow plant collector gave me a start in 2012 when I lived in Mississippi. I brought them with me when I moved back to the family farm in 2013. As far as I know, there are no native Rudbeckia fulgida on the farm…

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Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) on 7-22-19, #604-31.

The Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) thrives as a native species throughout most of North America. It has been introduced to other countries as well. It grows pretty much all over my farm and I allow it to grow wherever wants in flower beds and my garden.

I have also grown the cultivars ‘Cherokee Sunset’ and ‘Denver Daisy’ but you know how cultivars are. Sometimes they return the next year or for a few years then they stop coming up.

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Silphium integrifolium (Rosinweed) on 7-28-19, #607-21.

The Silphium genus has a lot of interesting species and Silphium integrifolium (Wholeleaf Rosinweed) is no exception. They can grow 3-5 feet or so tall so you may be able to spot their yellow flowers from a distance. Three of the identifying features of this species are its buds and seed heads, and its leaves. The opposite leaves are a dead giveaway even without flowers the way they clasp the stems and overlap. They rotate 90° as they ascend up the stem. Common names include Rosinweed, Wholeleaf Rosinweed, Whole-Leaf, Prairie Rosinweed, Entire-Leaf Rosinweed, and possibly others.

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Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) on 7-22-21, #817-21.

Talk about interesting, or maybe strange… The Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant) would definitely fit in those categories. A short back road south of town I use when I visit a friend has a lot of these. I see them hit and miss in other areas but nothing like that road. A field close to the end of the road is LOADED as well. I’m not even going to try to explain the leaves except that they are flat, oddly fingered (deeply lobed), and are said to face a north-south direction. From my observation, most of the leaves do that but not all.

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Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant) on 7-11-20, #722-4.

I went to the cemetery in Leeton, Missouri with a friend in 2020 where I spotted this massive Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant). I didn’t have my camera at the time, so when I got up that way with another friend I took my camera. The very large leaves kind of form together around the square stems to form a cup. That is the short version of technical terminology. Single stems grow up to 10′ tall and branch out at the inflorescence. WHAT A FIND!

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Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) on 10-24-21, #851-12.

Species of Symphyotrichum genus have been somewhat interesting on the farm and sometimes very difficult to iD. I am not sure h many species are growing here, but I “think” I have successfully identified 5 or 6. One may be the same as this Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (Calico Aster) that was growing on both sides of a drainage ditch behind the pond in the back pasture. This species is one of the last wildflowers I identified at the end of October in 2021 but I had help with a member on iNaturalist. The leaves of this plant in the above photo aren’t necessarily normal and about any wildflower website you visit won’t mention leaves like this. I think they grew like this because a deer ate the leaves and stems then they grew back weird… There are several features that convinced me it was likely S. lateriflorum, mainly the disc flowers that change colors. Flowers of this species grow mainly on one side of the plants and they prefer a shaded area. Some of the common names are Calico Aster, Fall Aster, Goblet Aster, Starved Aster, and Wild Aster.

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Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) on 9-28-21, #9-28-21.

I found this Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) behind the pond in the front pasture on September 28 in 2021. I had never seen it before either because it is new or I hadn’t been paying attention. Most websites say this species grows to 40″ or so tall, but I have a photo on this plant page with a tape measure that proves the stems of this plant grew to about 78″ tall. From a distance, there appeared to be a fairly large colony, but the stems had grown tall and gotten heavy with flowers and they were laying down. The flowers of this species are larger than the others in the genus on my farm.

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Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) on 10-25-21, #852-21.

I found this Symphyotrichum ontarionis (Ontario Aster) behind the pond in the back pasture the same day as the S. lateriflorum. I had help with this one as well. 🙂 I thought it was a Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Panicled Aster) but the member on iNaturalist said it was either S. ontarionis or an aberrant S. lateriflorum. I will keep an eye on both of them in 2021.

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Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) on 9-30-21, 837-14

One of the more common “weeds”, the Symphyotrichum pilosum (Hairy White Oldfield Aster) grows just about everywhere on the farm and throughout the countryside. It is fairly easy to identify with its small flowers, hairy stems, and narrow leaves. They remain flowering late in the season so help feed many insects when other wildflowers have faded. It has many common names including Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Frost Aster, Hairy Aster, Awl-Aster, Michaelmas Daisy, Steelweed, Downy Heath Aster, and White Heath Aster. Some of its common names are shared by other species.

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Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) on 9-19-21, #832-6.

I found a few fairly large colonies of Symphyotrichum praealtum (Willowleaf Aster) along the south side of the hayfield in 2021. I hadn’t noticed them before because the area had grown up in blackberry briars, Japanese Honeysuckle, and small trees. The area was mowed off last fall which allowed many species of wildflowers to grow I hadn’t noticed before. This could be one of the species I had difficulty identifying before. Common names include Willowleaf Aster, Willow Aster, Rodney’s Aster, and Wild Aster.

That is it for the Symphyotrichum genus for now. There are other species in this genus here I haven’t figured out yet.

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Marigold ‘Brocade’ on 8-7-17, #365-13.

I have grown several cultivars of Marigolds but the ‘Brocade’ has always been my favorite. You can go to the Tagetes erecta page for further reading with links to the cultivars I have grown.

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Verbesina alternifolia (Wingstem) on 9-12-19, #629-4.

I found a colony of Verbesina alternifolia (Wingstem) growing on a friend’s farm in 2019. I don’t have any of these on my farm. It was a neat find for sure. It is also known as the Yellow Ironweed.

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Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard) on 9-20-20, #744-36.

I first identified the Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard) on my farm in 2018. There is always a small colony along the fence in the front pasture. I found a few more along the fence in the south hayfield in 2021. Frostweed is another common name for this species. Both species of Verbesina are really neat plants. Plants of the World Online lists 350 species of Verbesina native to North and South America and introduced to other countries.

That is all the species in the Asteraceae I have identified or grown on my farm, a couple of friends’ farms, and on a few back roads. It is quite a complex family of plants.

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