Stoked on Stokes Asters
|Stokes asters make a wonderful showy border.|
|A typical member of this family has showy ray flowers around|
the edge and unadorned disk flowers in the center.
The stokes aster was named by Linnaeus to honor one of his son’s friends Jonathan Stokes, a doctor who helped to popularize the use of digitalis as a heart medicine. Laevis means smooth or not hairy. The stems and leaves are not hairy, but the bracts around the flower heads have definite hairs. When the flowers die back in the fall, these bracts might turn reddish and provide a second show.
|Laevis means smooth or without hairs, but the bracts supporting the |
flower heads have distinct hairs along their edges.
Stokes asters are readily available and listed as available at six nurseries in northern and central part of the state (as of May 2011) on the Florida Association of Native Nurseries: www.floridanativenurseries.org. You may also find it amongst the offerings (for sale or raffle) at FNPS meetings, because it multiplies. This is how I got started; a few years ago; I brought some home from an FNPS meeting and now I have enough so that I’ll pot some up and bring it in to share at a future meeting. Then someone else can get started with this cool native wildflower and suport even more of our native polinators.
Note to photographers: You’ll have a hard time capturing the rich lavender color of these flowers and others of this hue. It’s called the ageratum effect and it has to do with the infrared that we can see with our eyes, but the camera cannot. It works better if you avoid bright sunlight to reduce the wash-out of the color.