The Wild Asters of Hunt County by Madeline Sullivan
There are four types of wild asters in Hunt County: the heath aster, the Texas aster, the annual aster, and the meadow aster. They come up in the spring and have their leaves and stalks all summer, looking like a small hedge row along the fences and against the house.
If you do not know how the asters look in the spring or summer, it is very easy to mow them down since they closely resemble weeds. In August, however, their buds began to grow and by the end of August and early September they began to flower.
The heath aster and the Texas aster have white ray flowers and yellow disk flowers in the center of the bloom. The heath aster has an abundance of small flowers all up and down the stem. When grouped together, they make a spectacular show of the numerous small white flowers and the medium green leaves below that grow all the way to the ground.
The Texas aster has a larger flower than the heath aster and is some taller. It likes shady places under tall trees with loamy, rich, well-drained clay soils, and when other flowers are at the end of their season, the Texas aster blooms are still alive and inviting around the yard area.
The meadow aster is large and showy, with purple or violet flower heads and yellow center disk flowers.
The annual aster, which has ray flowers that are white to lavender or purplish, with disk flowers of yellow, is not particularly showy as an individual specimen plant. It is branched and has only a few flowers on each stem. When this plant is in mass, though, it is quite noticeable. This aster is common in lawns and will bloom profusely even when mowed short.
Any or all of these four asters are definitely a desirable addition to your garden and could be planted with goldenrod, mistflower (blue boneset), and gay feather to make a spectacular show in the fall wildflower garden.