For Your Garden - June 2020
Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
silky aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum
Photo © John Hilty
Silky aster is a perennial plant that has leaves arranged alternately along the stems. These simple, entire, leaves are oblong in shape and sessile. The leaves are covered with silvery, silky hairlike structures. Violet or blue flowers are clustered in numerous flower heads. Each flower head has 15 to 25 rays. The one‐seeded fruit is dry and hard. Silky aster may attain a height of one to two feet. This species may be found in the northern one‐half of Illinois. It grows in dry prairies and sand barrens. Flowers are produced from September through October. Flowers are pollinated by insects.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.