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, lettuce.
Many, star-like flower heads with colored ray florets and yellow centers.
Stems leafy, short.
Classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
Flowers not fragrant.
Can be held at 34-38F.
Aster is 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 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.
Will generally do well in light levels at least bright enough to read a newspaper in comfort but more light would be better. 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.
Some favorite cultivars and their respective flower colors include ‘Celeste’ (blue), ‘Winston Churchill’ (raspberry), ‘Patricia Ballard’ (pink), ‘Purple Viking’ (purple), ‘Odin Viking’ (light blue) and ‘Thyra Viking’ (pink).