Heath Aster


1 entry found.
Heath Aster
Common Name: Monte Casino, Heath Aster, Aster
Botanical Name: Aster ericoides (A-ster e-ri-KOI-deez)
Decorative Life: 8-12 days.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place in plain tap water containing regular household bleach (about 20 drops [1/4 teaspoon] per quart).
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster or sunflower) family.
  • Native to Eastern US, ME to GA and TX.
  • Related species include sunflower, daisy, gerbera, chrysanthemum.
Personality:
  • Many, star-like flowers in loose, branching clusters at stem ends.
  • Stems leafy, 24-36 inches long.
  • Classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
  • Flowers not fragrant.
Availability: Year-round.
Flower Color: White with yellow center.
Storage Specifics: Hold at 32-38F. However, because of the many cultivars and even species, making broad storage temperature recommendations is difficult. For example, Aster bigelovii, more accurately known as Machaeranthera bigelovii, reportedly has an optimum storage temperature of 45F.
Tidbits:
  • Latin for “star,” after its star-like flower shape, the aster was originally recognized for its healing properties. It was said that, when “beaten with old hogs grease, and applied,” that aster was good for "the biting of a mad dogge".
  • The specific epithet name "ericoides" means heath like in reference to their growth habits being somewhat similar to heaths.
  • The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a "composite" of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one "petal" off at a time, saying "she/he loves me, loves me not", they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.
  • While this is a good filler flower, foliage yellowing and/or blackening can be a problem. Excessive storage is one cause for these problems. Only using cultivars less prone to these problems is the best preventative cure.
Recent Findings: Van Gorsel and Ravesloot (1994) showed that a one day interruption at 68F in a 47F cold chain from grower to consumer resulted in a one day loss in vaselife.