Habitat Information: New England aster are still one of the most dominant species in sunny meadow urban semi natural and natural areas in Canada, such as the Don Valley in Toronto. They survive by prolifically seeding, along side similarly aggressive goldenrod species, although both now have significant pressure in Toronto from far more aggressive invasive species such as dog strangling vine (Vincetoxicum spp). In the fall, along side the various species of goldenrod, New England aster still dots the landscape with a shock of dark neon purple within the sea of yellow blooms. Across Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario. Provides a host of native bee species with an important food source for winter. (Evergreen)
Garden Uses: New England aster is a tall specimen often in gardens like many other native plants that take advantage of rich soils, getting to around 5 feet tall. It can be staked, or can be cut to produce lower flowers if this is a concern. In native gardens, it can get aggressive, and many prefer to manage it by weeding so that other less aggressive plants can take hold. In the garden it has a very showy mass of dark neon purple flowers, in natural habitats it can be as small as 2 feet tall with only a few blooms. (Evergreen)
Insect Relationships: The following study by Michigan State University detailed insects that were attracted to specific native plant species. The following insects were shown to be attracted to this plant ""Natural Enemies Attracted: Large numbers of Orius insidiousus, medium numbers of Chalcidoidea and Salticidae. Small numbers of Coccinellidae, Empididae, Cynipoidea, Ichneumonidae, Thomisidae, and Braconidae. Pests Attracted: Large numbers of lygus bug, medium numbers of leaf beetles and small numbers of leafhoppers, thrips, Japanese beetles and weevils. Bees attracted: Moderate numbers (between 1-5 bees per meter square in a 30 second sample) of bees including Andrenid bees, sweat bees, small carpenter bees, and bumble bees. Species Notes: This was the eighth most attractive late season plant to natural enemies, with more than three times as many natural enemies as the grass control."" (Michigan State University)
Green Roof: This drought hardy plant has been grown in soil levels 5 inches and up with good results. (Evergreen)
Traditional Edible, Medicinal Uses: There is little information on the edible and medicinal qualities of this plant. (Evergreen)
USDA PLANTS reports that this aster can be used for roadside planting, prairie restoration, wildlife cover, prairie landscaping and wetland situations.
Symphyotrichum novae angliae is now rare in the wild in Manitoba, but is available in native nurseries.
(Prairie Habitats Inc)
Can be aggressive. Seen with goldenrods in old fields undergoing natural succession. Source of several cultivars. (Ontario Native Plants 2002)
A good source of nectar for Monarch butterflies.
This aster is now present in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where it is actually not a native. (NatureServe)
The flower head has two kinds of florets, to appeal to as many pollinators as possible. There are a fringe of ray flowers to direct the pollinators to the central disk. The disk itself is made up of hundreds of minute flowers all crammed together. (Harris, Marjorie, 2003. Botanica North America)
This plant produces volunteer seedlings quickly, although it can also be divided in the spring or grown from seeds that mature in late fall.
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