Botanical Name: Aster macrophyllus
Species: E. macrophylla
*Aster multiformis E.S.Burgess
*Aster riciniatus E.S.Burgess
*Aster ianthinus E.S.Burgess
*Aster nobilis E.S.Burgess
*Aster roscidus E.S.Burgess
*Aster violaris E.S.Burgess
*Biotia latifolia Cass.
Common Names: Bigleaf Aster
Habitat: Aster macrophyllus is native to eastern N. America. Occasionally naturalized in Britain. It grows in dry to moist open woods, thickets and clearings. By rivers and streams in Britain.
Aster macrophyllus is a perennial herbaceous plant with alternate, simple, toothed leaves, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in). The basal leaves are large and heart-shaped, whereas the upper stem leaves are smaller and lance-shaped. The flowers form on flat-topped corymbs.
It is in flower from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Succeeds in most good garden soils, preferring one that is well-drained and moisture retentive. Prefers a sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils in the shade. Grows well in light woodland shade, succeeding amongst the roots of other plants. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. The plant has an invasive root system and can spread freely when well sited. Slugs are fond of this plant and have destroyed even quite large clumps by eating out all the new growth in spring. Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. A very variable plant with many different forms, it hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.
Through Seed – surface sow in spring in a cold frame. Do not allow the compost to become dry. Pre-chilling the seed for two weeks can improve germination rates. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whist smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Very young leaves – cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The leaves are said to act as a medicine as well as a food, though no details are given. Only young leaves are eaten as old leaves quickly become tough. Roots – cooked. They have been used in soups.
The roots have been used as a blood medicine. An infusion of the root has been used to bathe the head to treat headaches. A compound decoction of the roots has been used as a laxative in the treatment of venereal disease.
Other Uses: Plants can be used as a ground cover in light shade, forming a spreading clump.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.