Asters: Fall-blooming flower brings a touch of violet-blue color to the autumn landscape

The New York aster, or Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, is a stunning plant in late fall, the violet-blue ray flowers with yellow or reddish disk flowers, contrasting with blooming goldenrods, according to Helen Hamilton, past president of the John Clayton Chapter, Virginia Native Plant Society.

Numerous flower heads are borne on slender stems with narrow leaves. A definitive characteristic is the whitish green bracts under the flower heads with spreading or backward-curing tips. The plant can grow to 3 feet tall with branching stems. There are many cultivars and color forms.

New York Aster grows along shores, in damp thickets and meadows, occurring in every county in Virginia, but only in the coastal states of the U.S. and Canada. The range is from Newfoundland to South Carolina, found often in salt marshes. Blooms September-November.

The species name is Latin for “of New Belgium”, which was the early name for New York.

For more information about native plants visit

About native grasses

  • Learn how to identify beneficial, beautiful grasses during a meeting of the John Clayton Chapter at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 15 at the York Public Library, Route 17 and Battle Road, York County.  Free, open to the public.


Posted by Kathy Van

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