June 12, 2013 – 12:08 pm

Smooth-Aster-Aster-laevisThe aster is a daisy-like flower featuring a dense center surrounded by small petals. Native to Europe and Asia, these hardy flowers are frost resistant, and many species bloom in the fall. Asters come in a range of colors, most prominently purples, pinks, blues, and white. They are a close relative of chrysanthemums, another fall flower.

The flowers got their name from the Latin, ” ἀστήρ, ” which means aster, and is translated as “star, ” due to its star-like shape. Asters are a popular garden flower because of their bright, cheerful appearance, the ease with which they can be grown (they can grow in all hardiness zones), and their late bloom time, which makes them a good complement to early risers. Asters are also great for attracting butterflies & subsequently good luck.

il_fullxfull.337240844According to ancient lore, burning aster leaves are believed to drive away snakes. Among the meanings and traits ascribed to them are patience, daintiness, faith, wisdom, and valor.

These dear blooms are also refered to as Michaelmas Daisies, because the tend to bloom right around the celebration of Michaelmas, or for Pagans, right around Mabon. On the Gregorian calender this is between September 21 & 29th.

I am fond of the following herbal advice from a well reputed man called Jim McDonald who does herbcraft out of Michigan. Here is a link to his site, for furth awesomeness and classes to those who may find this and live in the area.

Science-13-4“Aster puniceus… Stimulant and diaphoretic. The warm infusion may be used freely in colds, rheumatism, nervous debility, headache, pains in the stomach, dizziness, and menstrual irregularities. This, together with A. cordifolius, has been compared in value with valerian.

Aster aestivus…is recommended as an antispasmodic and alterative. Principally used in the cure of rheumatism in the form of infusion or tincture; recommended, however, in hysteria, chorea, epilepsy, spasms, irregular menstruation, etc., internally; and used both externally and internally in many cutaneous diseases, the eruption occasioned by the poison rhus, and in the bites of venomous snakes. Dose of the infusion, 1 to 4 fluid ounces; of a saturated tincture, 1/2 drachm to 2 drachms. This plant deserves further investigation.

Aster cordifolius…”an excellent aromatic nervine, in many cases preferable to valerian.” It is also reputed antispasmodic. The root is the part used. A decoction has been used in rheumatism.

Aster Novae-Angliae, Linné. New England aster. United States. A beautiful plant, especially when cultivated. It has rose-purple, occasionally white flowers. Used in skin eruptions and valuable for poisoning by poison sumac (Rafinesque, on authority of Dr. Lawrence).”

Smooth-Aster-Aster-laevis il_fullxfull.337240844 Science-13-4 50682


50 WONDER OF STAFFA ASTER Aster Frikartii Flower Seeds
Lawn & Patio ()
  • BLOOM TIME: Late Summer - Early Fall
  • PLANT HEIGHT: 18 - 24 . . . PLANT SPACING: 18 - 24
  • LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Sun - Part Shade . . . SOIL/WATER: Average
  • Attracts bees, butterflies, and birds.

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Whiteflower Farms

Instead of bothering trying to chill and start your seeds indoors, suggest you might Google up the site for White Flower Farms. They sell wildflower seed by the ounce or pound, it's not terribly expensive and it's ready to go into raked and prepared soil. They have several butterfly mixes.
Also, if you're only thinking of putting in a few plants, I suggest plain ol' regular ol' pink coneflowers (Echinacea) which are commonly available at nurseries. Also, if you can find it for sale somewhere, the ultimate Monarch magnet (in my opinion) is Boltonia asteroides. This is a 4-6 foot tall, late-blooming fall flowering aster which, when I grew it in New England, would be...

100 PURPLE NEW ENGLAND ASTER (Michaelmas Daisy) Aster Novae var Angliae Flower Seeds
Lawn & Patio ()
  • BLOOM TIME: Fall
  • PLANT HEIGHT: 36 - 48 . . . PLANT SPACING: 18 - 24
  • LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Sun - Part Shade . . . SOIL/WATER: Average
  • These large showy flowers attract birds, bees, and butterflies including MONARCHS!

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