A Small Post on a Small White Aster

Aster vimineus “Small White Aster”

aster_vimineus_1

Small White Aster Blooming in the Fall

This photo is courtesy of Greg Stack, University of Illinois Extension

Have you seen a plant growing in your yard that’s been green all summer and looks like this:

small aster before flowering_sm

For better identification look for small leaves at base of large leaves:

small leaves at base of large

Perhaps, because it’s been green all summer, you’ve thought of pulling it up or mowing it down.  DON’T DO THAT!!

Like all asters, this one blooms in the fall and then gives us one of nature’s small miracles: small white flowers everywhere!

In addition to being beautiful and free, the flowers of this plant  seem to attract a wide variety of insects, particularly in sunny areas. More common insect visitors include short-tongued bees, wasps, and flies, and less common visitors include long-tongued bees, small butterflies, skippers, beetles, and plant bugs.  Small White Aster serves as a host plant for caterpillars of Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) and Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent) , as well as the caterpillars of many kinds of moths (http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/146700-Aster-vimineus).

So by all means, if you’re lucky enough to have some of this plant in your yard, let it thrive!

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