Aster x frikartii 'Monch'

A Daisy by Any Other Name

This week my garden is full of Michaelmas daisies. I would call them asters – but that isn’t necessarily true. Actually, I do still call them asters, even though some had their name changed a few years ago.

My preference for the old name is because the new name for some asters is such an awkward mouthful. ‘Symphyotrichum’ isn’t exactly easy to say and is even harder to spell. (If I’ve got it wrong, I can blame the RHS website, which is my usual go-to for spelling plant names.)

Bee on Michaelmas daisy
A happy honeybee enjoying these Michaelmas daisies.

And if that’s not bad enough, many other popular asters were given a different name – ‘Eurybia’. Well, at least that one is much easier to spell, but it makes life more complicated for gardeners. But then there’s also ‘Galatella’, ‘Doellingeria’ and others – argh!

In fact, I have no idea of the names of all but one of the Michaelmas daisies here. I know that the flower below is Symphyotrichum laeve ‘Les Moutiers’ because I bought it from a nursery. But the small blue daisy above and the dark pink one at the bottom were both given by friends and their names are a mystery to me for now.

(I think the top photo – taken in a garden I visited last year – is probably Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’. It’s a plant I’ve been meaning to buy for a while, but it will have to wait until it’s easier to go plant-shopping.)

Honeybee on pink Michaelmas daisies
Symphyotrichum laeve ‘Les Moutiers’ – just try remembering that at the garden centre!

Whatever their names might be, I love seeing the colours of these daisies at a time when we’ve been plunged into dull weather with grey skies and lots of rain. They cheer me up and remind me that there’s a while yet before winter approaches.

More importantly, the bees are busily (and buzzily!) making the most of the nectar and pollen provided by these flowers. Having flowers for bees and other pollinators as late as possible in the year is one of my aims for the garden. The asters are a big help with this.

Whenever I do get the chance to buy plants again, I’ll just have to make sure that I’ve written down the names of any Michaelmas daisies that I want. (And then I’ll have to check it carefully, because most of my books and quite a few websites are out of date.) That way I’ll have a better chance of remembering the names of the plants I want!

Dark pink Michaelmas daisy flowers
Aster? Symphyotrichum? Or Eurybia?

25 thoughts on “A Daisy by Any Other Name

    1. My garden varies a lot – there are bits that really need sorting out and others that have lots of flowers. It keeps me happy! (And gives me plenty to photograph, though that will start getting difficult soon, as the flowers get scarcer.)

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      1. Jenny is lovely. Mine is quite a tall plant – about 4 ft tall, but was even taller the first year I grew it. It was too tall for the plants around it but after it was moved it decided to grow shorter and is now being overshadowed by its neighbours…so it will be on the move again next spring!

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    1. I was looking to see if I could ID mine from Google images but when I then read the description of a couple, they were different colours – so confusing!

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  1. I do love asters — and I love that they’re called Michaelmas daisies. The way the centers of one up above have turned from yellow to red reminds me of one of my favorite natives here, although those flowers are tiny: about a half-inch or less. They look like clouds against the marsh waters!

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    1. Hi Laurel! Thank you! πŸ™‚ It must be wonderful to see asters growing wild – wish we had wildflowers like that! (Unfortunately, we don’t have many wildflowers at all these days.)

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    1. I think there must be some sort of competition to make up the most difficult to pronounce and hardest to spell plant names! Short names are so much better and easier to remember.

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  2. Beautiful flowers once again Ann! Wish I had your green thumb! I had to chuckle about the naming dilemma – it seems lots of plants and animals have several names and newer ones. Sounds like you are figuring it all out!

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    1. Ours have coped well with the rain and must be a couple of weeks behind yours, as there’s still plenty of buds on some. (The dark pink one has almost finished.) I’m glad to have them around!

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