Family: Asteraceae

aster family

Most members of the aster family in New England are annual or perennial herbs. They have a unique type of inflorescence consisting of many tiny flowers aggregated together in a flower head (a capitulum) that forms a false "flower." The individual flowers can be one of several types. The most common types of flowers are ray flowers (which are zygomorphic) and disk flowers (which are actinomorphic); different species may have one type or the other or both kinds in the same flower head. The base of a flower head is subtended by a number of bracts (called involucral bracts) that collectively form an involucre. Individual flowers within the flower head may have pollen-bearing or ovule-bearing parts, or both. The sepals, attached near the summit of the ovary, frequently look like bristles or scales, and collectively are called the pappus. The ovary is comprised of 2 united carpels that usually have styles cleft in 2. The stamens are attached to the petals and usually have long anthers united into a tube. The fruit is a specialized type of achene called a cypsela.

This Family’s Genera in New England:

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key