Plant ID forum: Is this a flower or a weed?

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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Sep 13, 2017 5:22 AM CST
I let this plant grow in one of my flower beds. It looks like it might bloom. Does anyone know what it is? Is it a flower or just a weed?
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It is to the right of the Aster.
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Sep 13, 2017 10:57 AM CST

Moderator

It is New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Sep 13, 2017 1:53 PM CST
I know that the bush to the left is a New England Aster but the really tall plant next to it is the one I am uncertain of. Is it also a New England Aster? Here are some pictures of it.
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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KentPfeiffer
Sep 13, 2017 2:34 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, the tall plant is New England Aster.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Sep 13, 2017 2:38 PM CST
I have a first-year New England Aster. It was only a few inches tall when I planted it last fall. It's now about 6 feet tall and in the same stage of blooming as yours. I planted it because it's supposed to be a real bee and butterfly magnet. Can't wait to find out if it will be over here!

Hope you'll keep yours.
AKA Joey.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Sep 13, 2017 3:11 PM CST
Is this invasive by seed?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Sep 13, 2017 3:19 PM CST
I don't know about seed but the plant will expand at a pretty good clip.
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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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joannakat
Sep 13, 2017 3:23 PM CST
Frillylily said:Is this invasive by seed?


That's a good question. It's important to remember that a plant that spreads by seed isn't necessarily invasive. To be considered truly invasive, a plant has to spread profusely by seed or other means, and block out other, native growth.

Another name for this plant is Hardy Aster because it tolerates tough winters well.

In searching for your question, I found this which states that it is not invasive.
http://www.wildflowerinformati...

It also states that it has very small seeds, and spreads well on its own.
AKA Joey.
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Sep 13, 2017 4:45 PM CST

Moderator

By definition, New England Aster can't be invasive in Iowa because it's native there. Gardeners commonly misunderstand invasive to mean 'plant that moves around my yard/garden in a way I don't like'. Invasive has a specific meaning in terms of plants, and that's not it.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Sep 13, 2017 6:56 PM CST
Okay then I will re-ask my question. I don't really care where it is native or that it spreads naturally because it is 'supposed to'. I want to know if this will come up everywhere all over my garden? Am I going to have to go out in my 1/2 acre garden every summer and pull hundreds of seedlings?
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
Image
gardenglassgems
Sep 13, 2017 7:41 PM CST
I have had the original New England Aster for several years without any increases. The original plant just kept getting bigger and bigger. This year I noticed this tall leggie plant start to grow close by the NE Aster. I decided to pull out what was coming up but it persistently kept growing so I decided to let it grow and see what happened. Thus when it got this size I decided to ask on this forum to find out if anyone had an idea what it was. I am satisfied that it is also a New England Aster. I will post pictures when the blossoms bloom.
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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Sep 15, 2017 5:29 AM CST
@Frillylily, @KentPfeiffer, @Joannakat, @Daisyl Thank you so much for identifying this plant for me. I may try to transplant it to another area next spring if it reappears.
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happyhems
Sep 17, 2017 2:15 AM CST

New Member


Surely not an Aster!
More like a Cynara.
Looks a bit thistle-like to me.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)

Region: United States of America Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Procrastinator
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plantladylin
Sep 17, 2017 7:18 AM CST
Sure looks like a variety of New England Aster to my old eyes. For comparison:

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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
Image
gardenglassgems
Sep 17, 2017 11:20 AM CST
I just went out and took more pictures of my New England Aster and this other plant that sits right beside it.
This is my N. E. Aster.
Thumb of 2017-09-17/gardenglassgems/94b5c8 Thumb of 2017-09-17/gardenglassgems/da6b92

This is the plant in question for the ID which is right beside the N E Aster.
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This is a close up of the mystery plant but it isn't a very good pic.
Thumb of 2017-09-17/gardenglassgems/a6df7d

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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Sep 17, 2017 1:11 PM CST
Looks like there's a bit of confusion with this! I'll give my thoughts, and then others can correct me if I'm wrong.

Your shorter, bush-like thing with the beautiful purple flowers looks like some other type of aster, not a New England aster. The one that's growing taller, the one you call the mystery plant, appears to be a New England aster.

The New England aster is supposed to bloom in Sept. - October. I believe that other asters will bloom earlier. The NE aster tends to grow taller, while others are more bush like.

I'm also pretty sure (but not 100%) that NE asters aren't doubles (hope I'm not using the term wrong). Here's a photo of a NE aster flower from the database--you can see the difference between this and the flowers on your shorter bush:


So, I'm not the most knowledgeable gardener in the bunch, but this is what I learned recently when choosing my NE aster which looks exactly like your mystery plant.

Someone who might be helpful is @jmorth who helped me choose mine. J?
AKA Joey.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Garden Ideas: Level 2 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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jmorth
Sep 17, 2017 2:07 PM CST
Asters purchased with a name attached wouldn't be the exact same as the original New England Aster. Named varieties have been bred to obtain specific traits a/o habits (early blooming, short size, flower color). Real NE asters are those out in nature or propagated purposefully from seeds thereof (some wildflower societies do this, as do some home gardeners).
The native NE Aster does produce zillions of seeds and I find them popping up all over the garden (though still less than you'd think), most don't reach maturity as they are quite easy to eradicate. The few seedlings that might reach flowering size are usually just left there for a season or two as they blend well with about everything and often are only one of the few bloomers to compose a fall garden.
The originals are always just swarmed with flying pollinators in the fall. This wasn't the case when I grew one of the named cultivars once
Mine are really entering their element right now and as soon as finished here I'm going out to the concrete slab behind the garage to sit in a portable chair set there to afford me comfortibility while taking pictures. The slab is surrounded by asters, 4 o'clocks and flowering tobacco.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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joannakat
Sep 17, 2017 2:51 PM CST
jmorth said:Asters purchased with a name attached wouldn't be the exact same as the original New England Aster. Named varieties have been bred to obtain specific traits a/o habits (early blooming, short size, flower color). Real NE asters are those out in nature or propagated purposefully from seeds thereof (some wildflower societies do this, as do some home gardeners).
The native NE Aster does produce zillions of seeds and I find them popping up all over the garden (though still less than you'd think), most don't reach maturity as they are quite easy to eradicate. The few seedlings that might reach flowering size are usually just left there for a season or two as they blend well with about everything and often are only one of the few bloomers to compose a fall garden.
The originals are always just swarmed with flying pollinators in the fall. This wasn't the case when I grew one of the named cultivars once
Mine are really entering their element right now and as soon as finished here I'm going out to the concrete slab behind the garage to sit in a portable chair set there to afford me comfortibility while taking pictures. The slab is surrounded by asters, 4 o'clocks and flowering tobacco.


And which do you think she has?
AKA Joey.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Garden Ideas: Level 2 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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jmorth
Sep 17, 2017 11:28 PM CST
One of each.
Possibility might be that the first plant self seeded and said seed didn't retain characteristics bred for, instead reverting back to it's parental wildness.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
Image
gardenglassgems
Sep 18, 2017 4:52 AM CST
I think I agree with you jmorth. I am pretty sure the shorter more compact one is a New England Aster. That's what the tag said anyway. I had a rose bush that did the same thing. It died then came back with the characteristics of one of the parents.

@jmorth Thank you for helping to solve this for me.
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