Eaton’s Aster – Symphyotrichum eatonii
Every year during the final weeks of summer, we look forward to seeing the asters bloom. They are a sure sign that fall is on the way, but a reminder that there is still so much color left to see before the gray days of winter. In our Idaho Native Plant Garden, you will find Eaton’s aster in full bloom. It is a native of the western states, and one of dozens of asters native to North America.
Symphyotrichum eatonii grows to about 3 feet tall, has lance-shaped leaves, and produces numerous white, pink, or light purple flowers that are 1 to 1.5 inches wide. It spreads by rhizomes – which are underground stems – and occurs mainly in moist to wet sites that are in full sun, such as meadows, stream banks, ditches, and wetlands.
Eaton’s aster used to be included in the genus Aster, but recent genetic analyses resulted in all North American species (except one) being reclassified into a handful of other genera, including Symphyotrichum. While many of our North American species have retained “aster” as a common name, the genus Aster is considered to have, almost exclusively, an Old World distribution. Read more about that here.
At Idaho Botanical Garden, you can find asters distributed throughout our many gardens. Visit today to see these and all the other late summer bloomers.
Written by IBG horticulturist, Daniel Murphy