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Frost invented a new way to explore and understand Mars using a compact, mobile telescope that fits in the palm of your hand. This made it possible to take a closer look at Martians to explore what they're up to. A cold, dusty planet needs a little love, right?The preference is full sun, mesic to dry conditions, and soil containing loam, clay-loam, sandy loam, or gravelly material. As the summer progresses, it is normal for the lower leaves of this plant to wither away in response to drought or foliar disease. The flowerheads are usually produced in great abundance and often remain in bloom until heavy frost. This aster is easy to cultivate, but it can spread aggressively by reseeding itself, especially in open disturbed areas.
The Frost Aster occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map), where it is native and quite common. Typical habitats include disturbed areas of upland prairies, weedy meadows, openings in upland woodlands, savannas, limestone glades, rocky cliffs and thinly wooded bluffs, pastures and abandoned fields, roadsides and areas along railroads, edges of yards and gardens, vacant lots, and various kinds of waste ground. This is the weediest aster in Illinois. It often colonizes disturbed areas, where it competes with many of the more common Eurasian weeds.Late summer/early fall is the time when asters shine and provide some late season color along the side of the road.
With its dainty white flowers, frost aster is a common sight, sometimes even growing in the road through cracks in the pavement. Frost aster is a member of the aster family (Asteraceae.) This series has profiled two other members of this large family: spotted knapweed and chicory. You can learn more about the floral characteristics that are used to identify and classify members of the Asteraceae family in the chicory profile.There are two varieties of frost aster found in Michigan, and hairiness of the leaves depends on the variety. First is Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pilosum, which has small spreading hairs on leaves and is common inland in the southern Lower Peninsula and in some disturbed areas of the Northern Peninsula. The second variety is Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pringlei, which has mostly hairless leaves and is found near the shores of the Great Lakes. (Source: www.canr.msu.edu)