An unlikely aster

Even before the botanists started splitting clumps out of the aster family, aster linosyris seemed an unlikely member. Known as the Goldilocks Aster, this rare British native (which also grows in much of Europe as well as Asia Minor) has small, bright yellow flowers on stems anything up to a couple of feet tall. But the flowers do not have the circle of outer petals we associate with asters, only the central portion (technically known as the disk florets).

Aster linosyris - 2017

So it comes as no surprise that the plant has been renamed and now comes under the title galatella linosyris. For once, I can understand the reasons for changing the name.

According to the Online Atlas of British and Irish flora, galatella linosyris is found on “shallow soil in open, grassy habitats on limestone sea-cliffs and rocky slopes, cliff-top grassland and wind-pruned heath overlying limestone. It is a poor competitor, and is usually intolerant of heavy grazing.” However, I have found it grows happily on my slightly acid soil, in clay with lots of grit incorporated. It needs full sun to give of its best, although it survived for several years in an east-facing border until crowded out by more vigorous neighbours. It is mid August before the flowers appear, so is useful for filling the gap until the real asters start their display.





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