Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Upland White Aster (Solidago ptarmicoides)

Formerly grouped with the asters and named Aster ptarmicoides, the taxonomical powers that be decided that this plant's flower structure is more akin to that of the goldenrods and moved it to the genus Solidago (which are themselves members of the family Asteraceae, so when all is said and done, this is still an "aster").

Sunny, dry areas in alvars and calcerous fens are a good place to look for the Upland White Aster; these photos were taken in mid-August at the Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve, and Dry Lake south of Marlbank. In fact, at Dry Lake it was growing with other plants associated with the Stoco Fen, such as Shrubby Cinquefoil and Grass of Parnassus.

A look at the involucral bracts or phyllaries.

The stems and leaves.

This showy little wildflower grows to a height of 30 cm to 50 cm, and, as further proof of its genetic kinship with the goldenrods, the Upland White Aster is known to hybridize with other species of Solidago.