Each moment holds an opportunity to reveal the beauty of our Souls. ~ Lee Hiller
Symphyotrichum laeve (Aster laevis)
• Family: Aster (Asteraceae)
• Habitat: open woods
• Height: 1-3 feet
• Flower size: flower around 1 inch across
• Flower color: purple ray (petals) flowers around a yellow disk
• Flowering time: Autumn to Early Winter (Hot Springs, AR)
• Origin: native
Although I spotted my first Smooth Aster along the Dead Chief Trail on Hot Springs Mountain the majority of my discoveries were made on the eastern slopes of West Mountain. Smooth Asters are always a welcome site as the green of summer fades to colorful Autumn and the leaves begin to fall. These purple beauties begin to paint the trail edges as the weather begins to cool.
Field Notes: Wildflower locations in the park appear to change based on seasonal moisture levels and canopy cover. This coming autumn they may appear more widely across the park as we had greater rain fall this past spring. Winter leveled several Trees this year opening the Forest to more light in places once sheltered from the sun creating more spots for some species of Wildflowers to bloom. Warmer winter allowed Wildflowers to bloom earlier and heavy spring rains brought blossoms that did not appear the prior year. Summer heat in the park like the spring arrived 2 weeks earlier than last year, nearly 4 weeks ahead of the standard weather patterns in the park. Hot Springs National Park is heating up and changing both the flora and fauna cycles.
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