Heath Aster, Symphyotrichum ericoides
Asters are among the latest blooming prairie plants in the Arboretum that can be identified by their numerous petal-like ray flowers and their central cluster of yellow disc flowers. Asters belong to the Aster family (Asteraceae) and attract a number of insect pollinators including bees, flies, and aphids. Species that can be found in the Arboretum prairies include New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), Sky Blue Aster (S. oolentangiense), Heath Aster (S. ericoides), Silky Aster (S. sericeum) and Smooth Blue Aster (S. laeve). However, differentiating between Aster species can be tricky. Asters usually bloom from late August through September and can be found throughout the Arboretum prairies.