Saturday, September 20, 2014

Amethyst Aster (Aster x amethystinus)

A hybrid between two very different looking species, the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) and the Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides), the Amethyst Aster (Aster x amethystinus) exhibits characteristics of both parent plants which, not surprisingly, were abundant in the high and dry field where the Amethyst Asters were encountered.

The following groups of three photos illustrate the features of the Amethyst Aster, New England Aster and the Heath Aster respectively.

The overall aspects of the plants.

The blossoms resemble those of the New England Aster but are only about half as large and bear fewer ligulate flowers.

Even the involucral bracts or phyllaries are intermediate between those of the progenitor species.

More studies of the Amethyst Aster – the relatively small leaves are crowded and clasp the stem.

The main stem of the plant is hairy.