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Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Heart-leaved Aster) matures to 3' in height and has light blue flowers. It prefers medium to medium-dry soil conditions, and blooms approximately from September to October. Heart-leaved Aster grows best in partial shade but will tolerate nearly full shade and nearly full sun. Also known as Blue Wood Aster, it has wonderful array of blue flowers attracts butterflies and bees, and also makes an excellent cut flower. Other names are Blue Wood Aster and Aster cordifolius. Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood Aster) is a stout herbaceous perennial boasting branched, upright-arching stems topped by profuse clusters of daisy-like flowers in late summer and fall. Blooming for weeks, the flowers, usually less than 1 in. across (2.5 cm), feature golden-yellow centers surrounded by narrow rays ranging from dark blue to pale blue. Borne on smooth stems, their gentle color blends with almost any other color in the garden. The leaves are thin, sharply toothed, the lower leaves being heart shaped (cordate) and the upper leaves being ovate to lanceolate. Tough and adaptable, Blue Wood Aster is an excellent choice for the mixed border where it makes a beautiful foil for other late-season perennials. Names: The former scientific name for this species was Aster cordifolius. All the new world asters, formerly in the genus Aster, have now been reclassified, most into the genus Symphyotrichum. The genus name is from the Greek symphysis, for 'junction', and 'trichos', for hair and, while obscure, it was first applied by Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck in the 1800s in describing the type aster for the genus.
The species name cordifolium means 'with heart-shaped leaves'. The author name for the plant classification of 1995 - ‘G. L. Nesom’ is for Guy L. Nesom (b. 1945) American botanist who has published papers on the nomenclature of asters. His work amended that of the original classifier of 1753 - '(L.)' which refers to Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and the developer of the binomial nomenclature of modern taxonomy. Notes: Eloise Butler first reported planting Heart-leaved Aster on Sept. 22, 1912 with plants obtained in Wahoo Glen, Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis and again in 1913 from the same source. Twelve came on Oct. 15, 1914 from the Fort Snelling, Minneapolis area and another 12 on Oct. 19, 1914 from Mendota. After that plantings, including multiple plantings per year, occurred in 12 of the next 19 years she was Curator. Eloise always used the former name of Aster cordifolius. Martha Crone planted it in 1955 and listed the plant on her 1951 Garden Census and it has been on all subsequent census lists. Susan Wilkins added 72 plants in 2020.Eloise Butler in her 1915 report to the Board of Park Commissioners wrote about the asters in the Garden and of this species she wrote: "Aster cordifolius is abundant in the woods along our river banks. I have specimens of remarkable beauty where I have planted it in burnt-over tracts, branching diffusely and crowded with pale blue flowers whose disks take on a richer tone in maturity." Much the same text was incorporated into an essay that was sent to The Gray Memorial Botanical Chapter, (Division D ) of the Agassiz Association for publication in the Chapter's circular. Text here. (Source: www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org)