New England Aster
sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum NO-vee ANG-lee-a
Synonyms of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (18) (Updated on 10-29-21 from Plants of the World Online): Aster altissimus Moench, Aster amplexicaulis Lam., Aster muehlenbergii Tausch, Aster novae-angliae L., Aster novae-angliae f. geneseensis House, Aster novae-angliae var. monocephalus Farw., Aster novae-angliae f. rosarius House, Aster novae-angliae f. roseus Britton, Aster novae-angliae var. roseus A.Gray, Aster novae-angliae f. spurius (Willd.) Voss, Aster repertus Mottet, Aster roseus Desf., Aster spurius Willd., Aster spurius var. novae-angliae (L.) W.P.C.Barton, Diplactis novanglia Raf., Lasallea novae-angliae (L.) Semple & Brouillet, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae f. roseum (Desf.) G.Wilh. & Rericha,Virgulus novae-angliae (L.) Reveal & Keener
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) G.L.Nesom is the correct and accepted scientific name for the New England Aster. It was named and described as such by Guy L. Nesom in Phytologia in 1995. It was previously named Aster novae-angliae by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
The genus, Symphyotrichum Nees, was named and described as such by Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck in Genera et Species Asterearum in 1832.
As of 12-26-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 97 species in the Symphyotrichum genus. It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae with 1,678 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO. The number of genera in this family fluctuates quite often.
The above distribution map for Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database is similar but also includes California and British Columbia.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
On 9-28-21, I started walking toward the front pasture when I noticed this pink mass of flowers behind the pond. I was still quite a distance from them and I wondered what they were. I had been in this area a week or so before and hadn’t noticed them at all. I am not usually excited about pink flowers, but it was different this time. It was my first positive ID of a Symphyotrichum species.
The Missouri Plants website lists 16 species of Symphyotrichum in Missouri and most are pink. The USDA Plants Database lists 154 accepted species (including infraspecific names) in North America. Plants of the World Online lists 95 species worldwide including 12 hybrids but not including possible varieties. To find that out, I would have had to click on 95 pages. For grins, I checked out The Plant List which hasn’t been maintained since 2013. It lists 143 species (including infraspecific names), a whopping 1,116 synonyms, and only 37 species unplaced at the time.
Information online says their flowers are purplish and rarely pink. Well, these are pink fading to white. It also says they supposedly grow to around 40″ or so tall. Hmmm… There is a problem. The huge clusters of pink flowers are on stems in kind of a half-circle 10-12′ wide. The above photo shows how the heavy stems have laid down from the weight of the flowers.
I went back and took photos on three separate days which kind of screwed up the order of things. As with many wildflower websites, you take a photo of the whole plant, then the stems, the leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds. I first took photos of the flowers on 9-28 because I wanted to get an idea of what species it was. Normally, I take all the photos on the same day, but I was on a different mission at the time. So, I went back on the 30th and took more photos.
I went back on 10-3 to take photos of the base of the plant and get an official measurement. The above photo shows where multiple stems have come up from the base which you can’t see very well because of the grass.
I also wanted to get an official measurement and photograph the tape measure. I did it first by standing the stem up and measuring it from the base. It was 78″ tall… I couldn’t take a photo with it standing up, so I had to let it lay down so I could get a photo. Most information online says they only grow to around 40 or so inches tall.
I apologize for not writing descriptions at the moment. I am busy updating plant pages and writing new pages for wildflowers I identified over the summer (plus adding more photos to previously published pages). Writing descriptions in my own words can be a lengthy process, so I decided to just make new pages and come back later and write the descriptions. This is a winter project but sometimes I get behind and it takes longer. I need to continually update because plant names change, the number of species and genera fluctuates, and I want to be as accurate as I can. There are several very good websites below that can help with a positive ID. We are all a work in progress.
I will get descriptions written soon and maybe even add more photos.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
There are many other great websites with information about this species. There are also sources of seed and plants. PLUS, there are several popular cultivars that are mentioned on the Gardenia website (see link below).
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
USDA PLANT GUIDE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-WEED ID GUIDE
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
MARYLAND BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
U.S. FOREST SERVICE
SANTA FE BOTANICAL GARDEN
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON-BURKE HERBARIUM
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂