Notable Features: The leaves on Smooth Blue Aster are indeed smooth to the touch. The tough stem often takes on a shade of blue also and will allow Smooth Blue Aster to stand tall during its long late summer to mid fall bloom. A non-aggressive rhizomatous root system allows the plant to spread slowly. In a garden setting, Smooth Blue Aster will persist for many years. The beautiful late blooming flowers attract many different pollinators. Smooth Blue Aster is also a host plant for theSilvery Checkerspotand thePearl Crescentbutterflies.
Attracts: The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract honeybees, bumblebees, cuckoo bees (Triepeolus spp., Coelioxys spp.), digger bees (Melissodes spp.), leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Halictid bees (Agapostemon spp., Halictus spp., Lasioglossum spp.), Andrenid bees (including the oligolectic bee, Andrena asteris), Sphecid wasps, Syrphid flies (Eristalis spp., Helophilus spp., Syrphus spp., Toxomerus spp.), Muscid flies, butterflies, and skippers (see Graenicher). Other insects feed on the leaves, flowerheads, and other parts of Smooth Blue Aster. These species include a leaf beetle (Ophraella pilosa), larvae of a leaf-mining fly (Nemorimyza posticata), larvae of the Papery Blister Gall Midge (Asteromyia laeviana), the Short-winged Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus brevipennis), and caterpillars of a butterfly, the Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos).
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