Asters are Blooming, and You Know What That Means

White Wood Aster - Eurybia divaricatus - Wildwood Preserve

White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)

This morning, as I often do, I went for a walk at my favorite metropark. There was an unusual but welcome chill in the air, so I put on long pants instead of shorts. And instead of my usual walk through the woods, I decided to start on the prairie and meadow trails so I could enjoy the sun and avoid the need for a jacket.

My purpose for this particular walk was exercise rather than nature exploration, so I wanted to keep up a rather brisk pace. It’s always a bit frustrating for me to walk without my camera, but when I’m trying to exercise I force myself to leave it behind. But I always have my cell phone with me, so I can still take some types of photos.

Today I was rewarded with quite a few blooming species that were near enough to the trails that I could get cell pics of them. So I stopped a few times to snap quick photos, but still tried to keep up a decent pace. I ended up doing three miles in just over an hour, so I think that’s still respectable in terms of a workout.

Rough Blazing Star aka Liatris aspera

Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera) – also a member of the aster family

When I got home I immediately began the process of identifying the flowers I’d photographed. That’s always fun for me because I inevitably learn something new as I thumb through my various wildflower field guides and books. Today I learned that the aster family is one of the largest flower families in the world, with over 20,000 species. Several of the species I’m showing you today are in the aster family.

Cutleaf Coneflower - Rudbeckia laciniata - Wildwood

Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia), another member of the aster family

In this part of the world, asters are classic signs of autumn. Despite the cooler temperatures, I’ve been in denial about summer coming to an end soon. But when I found White Wood Aster today, I had to face reality. True, this is one of the earliest asters to bloom, but nevertheless, it’s a sure sign of the impending change of seasons.

In case you didn’t notice in that first picture at the top, some of the White Wood Asters are yellow in the centers while others are pink. The yellow ones are younger blooms, and the pink ones are older.  I think they’re so beautiful and dainty.  I like them so much that I think I’ll put them on my list of plants to put in my garden as I remove the non-native species.

New England Aster - Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (1024x683)

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), not yet in bloom here but coming soon

My summer has been so full and interesting this year that I get a bit melancholy when I think of it ending soon. Of course I’ll still be hiking in the fall and winter, but there won’t be as many opportunities to photograph flowers or insects again until next spring.

But maybe it’s good to have a season off from exploring so much–I’ve got a big backlog of photos to sort through, after all. I can see myself spending some very pleasant time with a cup of tea by the wood stove, doing research and writing about things I learned this summer as I explored various facets of the natural world in northwest Ohio.

Evening Primrose I think

Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) – NOT a member of the aster family, by the way

I’m glad I was in the park early enough to see this lovely primrose with open blooms. The flowers bloom at night and usually close by mid-day.  Now if only I could manage to get into the park at night to see the hawk moths that come to pollinate this beauty.

Speaking of moths, I’ve found a few of them recently too, so I hope to show you some of their understated–and underappreciated–beauty in a separate post very soon. Now I’ve got to go toss a rotten banana on my patio and sprinkle it with brown sugar…moths will eat that up…literally. 🙂

Note: As always, if you think I’ve misidentified any plants or animals here, I would be grateful if you’d let me know.

 

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6 Responses to Asters are Blooming, and You Know What That Means

  1. Kim very pretty Autumn flowers as I look to spring I can say that Autumn is always my favourite month. Not sure why, maybe because the flies have gone, the heat has gone and I can sit on my deck and soak up nature in peace. Enjoy the change of season as will I.

    • Kim Smith says:

      Kath, I’ve always said that autumn is my favorite season too. But I enjoy both spring and autumn for the transitional seasons they are. Both offer comfortable temperatures and respite from the extremes of the other two seasons.

  2. Littlesundog says:

    You are seeing way more floral beauties than I. I have not been out to hike around as much as other years. It’s good to see you are taking advantage of the more pleasant weather and walking in nature. Thanks for sharing your adventures!! 🙂

  3. David says:

    Kim, you always evolve a deep sense wonder and peacefulness as well as an escape from the many troubles of the day. Thanks for the adventures you take us all on.

  4. Sparkyjen says:

    Highly visual me loves your pretty flower pics. My body didn’t get much exercise, but my eyes did. Much appreciated!!!

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