Thursday in the Naturehood

Michaelmas Daisies

 Michaelmas Daisies ( New England Asters)

Michaelmas Daisies ( New England Asters)

“You thought you knew every twig and leaf by the roadside and nothing more was to be looked for there ... and now to your surprise, the ditches are crowded with millions of little stars.”  

Henry David Thoreau

Today, we are showcasing our Michaelmas Daisies.  Actually, they aren’t daisies at all, but rather asters that bring a much needed touch color to the garden as summer growth is fading.  The reason New England Asters are called Michaelmas Daisies is because they are at the height of their bloom on, or around the Feast of Michael the Archangel (September 29.)

What amazes us about asters is their evolutionary design.   What appear to be the wildflower’s petals were once an outer row of the flower’s circle of stamens that developed into "florets" and, through natural selection, lengthened and changed color in order to attract pollinating insects!!

Identification is frustrating because there are over 250 species of asters, a number that constantly changes because the plant easily forms hybrids.