Short's Aster

Short's Aster

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Symphyotrichum shortii, 1/2-pint plug

Exposure: Partial Sun-Shade
Soil: Dry-Medium
Height: 3'
Bloom: August-September

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 bee Colletes simulans armata, and such Andrenid bees as Andrena asterisAndrena asteroidesAndrena hirticinctaAndrena nubeculaAndrena simplex, and Andrena 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 as Cucullia asteroides (The Asteroid)Carmenta corni (Aster Borer Moth), and many others feed on various parts of asters. Other insect feeders include Exema canadensis and other leaf beetles, larvae of Calycomyza humeralis (Aster Leafminer Fly), larvae of several fruit flies, many aphids (especially Uroleucon spp.), Macrosteles fascifrons (Aster Leafhopper), the plant bug Plagiognathus cuneatus, and Corythucha marmorata (Goldenrod Lace Bug)