Description: An attractive inhabitant of dry woodlands and savannas, Short's Aster grows to about 3' in height and offers a lovely light purple color to the late summer shade garden. They also provide a valuable nectar and pollen source for many insects. Its stems are round and slender. The central stems end in foot-long clusters of compound flowers, each with 10-20 pale blue-violet ray florets surrounding a yellow disk that ages to reddish purple.
Attracts: The flowerheads of asters attract many kinds of insects, especially long-tongued bees, small-tongued bees, butterflies, skippers, and flies. These insects obtain nectar or pollen from the flowerheads. Some bees are specialist pollinators of asters and sometimes goldenrods (Solidago spp.); these species include the plasterer beeColletes simulans armata, and such Andrenid bees asAndrena asteris, Andrena asteroides, Andrena hirticincta, Andrena nubecula, Andrena simplex, andAndrena solidaginis. The caterpillars of two butterflies,Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) and Phyciodes tharos(Pearl Crescent), feed on the foliage of asters. In addition, the caterpillars of such moths asCucullia asteroides(The Asteroid), Carmenta corni (Aster Borer Moth), and many others feed on various parts of asters. Other insect feeders include Exema canadensisand other leaf beetles, larvae ofCalycomyza humeralis (Aster Leafminer Fly), larvae of several fruit flies, many aphids (especiallyUroleucon spp.), Macrosteles fascifrons(Aster Leafhopper), the plant bugPlagiognathus cuneatus, andCorythucha marmorata(Goldenrod Lace Bug).
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