The blues begin

September 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

We've had wild asters in bloom since the middle of August, but they were the white, Wood variety—and their cousins—and they're more a sign of the turning past midsummer than a turning towards autumn. The blue-to-purple-flowered asters, however, are a different harbinger story. These, keyed by the large and showy New England Aster, represent the tail-end of the blooming season, and when you spot them lording it over the edges of the woods and fields, you know what's coming. You can't quite smell essence of wood stove in the lovely blossoms, but it has to be there. There's a chill in the morning, and, in the not-too-distant future, there'll be a curl of wood smoke winding beguilingly around the blue flowers and their burden of bees, flies, and other pollinators and ambush predators lurking in the petals. (This particular plant is probably a Late Purple Aster, since it has the right kind of clasping leaves, but the Asters are pretty tricky, so I'll have to make a return hike to really nail the ID.)


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