Monday, September 25, 2006

Purple Daisies

Michaelmas Daisy or New York Aster
(Symphyotrichum novi-belgii or Aster novi-belgii)

Oh, what a feast of colour for northern eyes in September! Our Michaelmas Daisies (or New York Asters) have just come into bloom, and they are another one of my markers of the changing season. As we drove along the gravel roads in Lanark this weekend, we could see their tall enthusiastically waving plumes everywhere in hedgerows, fields and thickets, adorning every roadside and concealing fences and culverts alike with their bright colours and their impetuous windy movement.

I cherish these autumn daisies (or asters) because they are vivid purple (my favourite colour), and because they have hearts of pure lustrous gold. The blooms are arrayed in vivid, almost incandescent colours at a time of the year when everything else in northern gardens is fading away, and they are truly impressive in their stature, often reaching six feet in height.

On this side of the Atlantic, these resplendent entities are called New York Asters. The name was given to them by the eighteenth century Belgian botanist Hermann, who named them for the place where he encountered them for the first time, the Dutch new world colony of New Amsterdam. In Britain, the flower is called the Michaelmas Daisy in honour of St. Michael the Archangel whose feast (Michaelmas) falls on September 29th - there is a wealth of lore on the feast of Michaelmas and every other day of the turning year at Wilson's Almanac online, and it is all wonderful reading.

The usual Monday morning haiku offering is here.


Lil said...

Oh, definitely a beautiful burst of vibrant purple when everthing is shades of orange and yellow! I too love these daisies, thank you Cate for post them!

Anonymous said...

Those ARE fantastic, aren't they? I just saw them for the first time on Sunday. Thanks for putting a name to their beautiful face!

silverlight said...

Lovely, these seem to just gloq with their own light.
The color purple is the rare color in nature.yqwaful

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