For Your Garden - November 2018
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.
azure aster Symphyotrichum oolentangiense
Photo © John Hilty
Azure aster, also known as sky blue aster, is found statewide in prairies, woodland openings and savannas. The plants grow to about three feet tall. Leaves are arranged alternately along the stem. Leaf size and leaf stalk length decrease from the base of the plant to the top. Flowers are present from August through November. Many flower heads are present at the top of the plant. Ray flowers are blue or purple. The flowers are important sources of nectar and pollen for many pollinators. The seeds and leaves also provide food for several species of wildlife.
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.