Symphyotrichum drummondii

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Drummond aster 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: Lavender rays and yellow center disks
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full sun in cool summer climates, but grows best in part shade in hot summer climates. Lower leaves may wither in hot dry conditions. Stems may be pinched back in late spring to early summer if shorter plants are desired. Plants can spread aggressively by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Symphyotrichum drummondii, commonly known as Drummond’s aster, is an erect herbaceous perennial aster that is native primarily to open woodland areas and clearings from Minnesota to Pennsylvania south to Texas and Alabama. It is typically found throughout most of Missouri except for the Ozark region where it is uncommon.

Leafy stems (to 3-4’ tall) are clad with alternate leaves (each to 4” long). Lower leaves are cordate-ovate with serrate margins, but upper leaves have slightly crenate-serrate margins. Leaves diminish in size as they ascend the stems. Flowers (each to 3/4” across) bloom from summer to fall (August to October) in large showy inflorescences rising from the stem tops and upper leaf axils. Each individual flower (to 1/2” across) features 10-15 lavender to pale violet rays and 10-15 cream to yellow center disks which age to reddish purple. Flowers are followed by a fruit (dry seed with a tuft of white hairs). With the help of the white hairs, seeds are distributed to new locations by wind.

Drummond’s aster was formerly known as Aster drummondii. A number of different species of aster which were originally assigned to the genus Aster, including the within species, have now been reclassified to the genus Symphyotrichum, but with retention of their original aster common names.

Similar species to S. drummondii include S. sagittifolium (arrow-leaved aster), S. urophyllum (white arrow-leaved aster) and S. cordifolius (heart-leaved aster). S. drummondii is in part distinguished from these similar species by having even pubescence on its stems and leaf undersides. Drummond’s aster is distinguished from S. cordifolium by its winged petioles.

Genus name comes from the Greek symph meaning coming together and trich meaning hair in possible reference to the flower anthers.

Specific epithet honors Thomas Drummond (1790-1835), Scottish naturalist who collected plant specimens in the western and southern U.S. in the early 1830s.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Taller plants may need some support.

Garden Uses

Borders. Open woodland areas. Prairies. Cottage gardens. Mass or group.