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#bioPGH Blog: Late Purple Aster
Nov 05

#bioPGH Blog: Late Purple Aster

By Lorren Kezmoh, Outreach Coordinator, Phipps Science Education and Research

Biophilia NetworkA resource of Biophilia: Pittsburgh, #bioPGH is a weekly blog and social media series that aims to encourage both children and adults to reconnect with nature and enjoy what each of our distinctive seasons has to offer. From the best times to plant seasonal flora and enjoy their peak blooms, to astronomical events and creatures to keep an eye and ear out for, Phipps will keep you in the know with what’s going on in our environment!

It may be quite surprising to still see bright blossoms popping up here and there amongst the warm crimson and gold hues of the autumn foliage that dominates the late October – early November landscape. However, there are still several species of flora that bloom long into the fall. One of these plant species is late purple aster, or Symphyotrichum patens. Also known as spreading aster, this native wildflower is a member of the Asteraceae family and a common and easily identifiable sight across the state during the late fall months. The large clusters of bright purple flowers that populate this particular perennial can be easily spotted this time of year along rocky summits, woodlands, forested slopes, and even along the sloped walkway to Phipps’ Turtle Lagoon! 

Connecting to the Outdoors Tip: With vibrant flowers and autumn foliage still visible throughout Pittsburgh, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy some of the beautiful colors before the white snowscape of winter takes over. Not only do these naturally occurring colors make for great Instagram photo opportunities but they also present the perfect opportunity to teach little ones all about the color wheel! With ColorSnap by Sherwin-Williams you can upload your photos and turn them into your own custom color combination pallets that show you individual colors identified from your photograph, as well as the name of each color. With your customized color pallets in-hand, you can help little ones create some matching coffee filter flowers of their very own!

Continue the Conversation: Share your nature discoveries with our community by posting to Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #bioPGH, and R.S.V.P. to attend our next Biophilia: Pittsburgh meeting.

Additional Resources:
Plants Profile for Symphyotrichum patens (Late Purple Aster) - USDA
Symphyotrichum patens - The Pennsylvania Flora Project of Morris Arboretum
Asteraceae - Encyclopædia Brittanica
ColorSnap - Sherwin-Williams
Vibrantly Colored Coffee Filter Flowers - Fun at Home with Kids

Photos © Paul g. Wiegman