Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hoary Tansey-Aster

One of my favourite wildflowers, and the only one that's currently growing as a volunteer in my patio, is the Hoary Tansey-Aster (Machaeranthera canescens), a member of the Sunflower family. According to the USDA NRCS map, it grows throughout the western half of the United States, and, curiously, in one county in New York State bordering Lake Ontario.
The generic name was derived from the Greek machaira, "sword" and anthera, "anther", in reference to the pointed, pollen-bearing organs. Canescens means "becoming gray" in botanical Latin. Hoary aster was first described for science by the German botanist Frederick Pursh in his monumental Flora Americae Septentrionalis of 1814. Pursh was the first to publish on the many new plants collected by Lewis and Clark. (USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center).
I haven't been able to find the origin of its common name. If anyone has any information, I'd love to know.


Endment said...

a beauty!
Thanks for the very interesting commentary!

lené said...

I think I actually have one of these blooming in my yard, Pam. Tomorrow, I'll go out and take a closer look. I've been puzzling over an aster blooming so early. Wouldn't that be cool if we were sharing the same flower at the same time? Or would it? eeek. :)

Jimmy said...

Neat looking flower!

pablo said...

There is something undeniably likeable about asters. I especially like the color of this volunteer of yours.

TDharma said...

simply beautiufl Pam. the purple against the white gray is perfect.