What plant is that?

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Smooth Aster plant

The mystery plant for March, 2017 is a member of a very large group of plants which are very similar in appearance. It is important to examine not only the flowers but also the stems and leaves of the plant.  It can be a difficult group to identify to species but with patience and practice, identification becomes fairly easy.

Smooth Aster flowersThis plant has blue to violet flowers 1-1½ inches in diameter.

The leaves are slightly longer than wide, have no teeth on the margins and the bases of the leaves are auriculate-clasping.  The stems and leaves are smooth and sometimes glaucous – meaning they may be covered with a whitish cast or bloom on the surface.  This plant grows 1-3 feet tall and  blooms in September through October.  It can be found in open woods or fields.

Photo credits: © Francis R. Underwood 2017

It’s. . .

Botanical Name:
Symphyotrichum laeve
Common Name:
  Smooth Aster
  Asteraceae (Aster Family)
  Open woods and fields

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