Big Leaf Aster, Aster macraphyllus

Big Leaf Aster

Aster macraphyllus

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Summer/Early Fall
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Dry
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-2 feet
Spacing: 1 foot

Big Leaf Aster (Eurybia macrophylla) is noted for its large basal leaves (4-8 inches wide). It is sometimes planted in wooded areas more for its foliage effect than for its fall flowering which is sometimes sparse. This is a rhizomatous perennial that grows 2-4 feet tall. It is native to woods and clearings. Heart-shaped, rough, sharply-toothed, basal leaves are 4-8 inches wide. Ovate, stalkless upper leaves are much smaller. Stems are often purplish. Flat-topped clusters of flowers with violet to pale blue (rarely white) rays and yellow centers bloom on sticky, glandular flower stalks September. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall and lasts about 1-1½ months. During the autumn, both ray and disk florets are replaced by small bullet-shaped achenes; each achene has a tuft of tawny hairs at its apex. The achenes are distributed by the wind. The root system is fibrous and long-rhizomatous; on older plants, a small caudex sometimes develops. This wildflower often forms clonal colonies by means of the spreading rhizomes.

Habitats consist of beech-maple woodlands, sandy oak woodlands, sandy oak savannas, elevated areas (hummocks) in swamps, stabilized sand dunes where oak trees are dominant, and woodland borders. Usually, Big Leaf Aster occupies high-quality natural areas that are more or less mesic (neither too dry nor too wet) and relatively little-disturbed by human activities.

Best grown in moist, well-drained, sandy loams in part shade. This is a woodland species that will grow in shade, but best flowering and growth is in part shade.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Spreads by rhizomes to form a groundcover.
  Great for stabilizing shaded hillsides and slopes.
  Tender, young leaves may be cooked and eaten as greens.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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