Monday, October 25, 2010

Shale Barren Asters

This time of year it is rare to see a flower in full bloom, fresh and not withered by frost. So I was really excited when we found these beauties along the road in Adams County, OH. These are Shale Barren Asters, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, and are threatened in Ohio.

Another name for it is Aromatic Aster for its aromatic scent when the leaves are crushed. I did not sniff it, but hopefully I will have another chance this upcoming weekend to see what it smells like. Hopefully, it will smell like chocolate. :)

There are only four counties at this time in Ohio that are known to have this aster. They are Adams, Belmont, Brown and Hocking. It grows on calcareous slopes, prairies and dry open ground in full sun.

A few of the differentiating characteristics of this aster are oblong entire (not toothed) leaves that can be up to four inches long. These leaves are sessile, meaning they do not have a petiole where the leaf attaches to the plant's stem. Also, the upper stem of the plant is glandular and hairy.

Here is a closeup of one of the flowers. Such a lovely shade of lavender. The flower heads can have between 15 to 40 petals. So happy to share this gorgeous rarity with you!


  1. We grow Syphiotrichon oblongifolius 'October Skies', although we're not quite ready to remove the Aster from the name, but I tend to think it smells like Patchouli. Let me know if you agree.

  2. Yes, the leaves do smell a bit like Patchouli :)