Michaelmas daisies

Back on September 29th, a card from Chris Ambidge noting that the day was Michaelmas, with recollections of Michaelmas daisies, a pretty plant of the autumn:

On Michaelmas, from Wikipedia:

Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (also the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels) is a day in the Western Christian calendar which occurs on 29 September. Because it falls near the equinox, it is associated in the northern hemisphere with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days.

Michaelmas daisies, which are in full bloom around Michaelmas, come in a variety of colors, but the classic daisy is pinkish purple, as in the photo above.

The common name Michaelmas daisy has been applied to a number of species of composite flowers. The daisies that Chris recalled from his childhood in England were probably Aster amellus:

Aster amellus, the European Michaelmas Daisy, is a perennial herbaceous plant of the genus Aster, belonging to the Asteraceae family.

The genus name (Aster) comes from the Greek and means “star-shaped flower.” The specific name (amellus) is first used in the Georgics (Book IV, 271-280), a poem of the Latin poet Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC – 19 BC), but the etymology is obscure and uncertain. (Wikipedia link)

Then there are daisies now classified in the genus Symphyotrichum. On the genus name, from Flora of North America:

Greek symphysis, junction, and trichos, hair, perhaps alluding to a perceived basal connation of bristles in the European cultivar used by Nees as the type

The daisy pictured above is Symphyotrichum novi-belgii:

Symphyotrichum novi-belgii also known as New York Aster is the type species for Symphyotrichum, a genus of the family Asteraceae whose species were once considered to be Asters. They are ornamental plants native to Canada and the United States. All of these plants are collectively and popularly known as “Michaelmas daisies”. (Wikipedia link)

Another common Symphyotrichum:

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae …, commonly known as the New England Aster or Michaelmas Daisy, is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to almost every area in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, but excluding the far north of Canada as well as some of the southern United States. Symphyotrichum novae-angliae was introduced to Europe in 1710; a common garden escape, it has naturalized along roadsides and on disturbed ground. (Wikipedia link)

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