The last few flowering asters are hanging on as the temperature drops and the plants prepare for winter. The bright purple aster below is a New York American aster (
), although I could be convinced otherwise since asters can be quite tricky to identify.
The aster family of plants are interesting because their flower structure is different than most--the center of the “flower” is where you find the real flowers. The center is actually a disk of many tiny, densely packed tubular flowers. If you look closely with a magnifying glass, or hand lens, you will be able to see the individual miniature flowers containing the pistil and pollen-bearing stamens. Other common plants in this family include sunflowers, coreopsis, and daisies. On a sunflower, you can more easily see what I am describing.
(Submitted by Lynn Knight, October 23, 2019)