These herbaceous perennials are better known in the UK as Michaelmas Daisies. Aptly so, because the peak season of flowering is September and October, with Micaelmas day falling on the 29th September. Hundreds of species and cultivated varieties are grown in gardens throughout the temperate regions of the world. Many more, in terms of plants growing are cultivated worldwide for the cut flower industry.
All are members of the Asteraceae family and specifically the Aster genus – at least as far as European botanists are concerned. Botanists in Northern America; where the worlds largest concentration of species are native, have intensively researched the naming of their continents species. Due to the discovery of significant genetic differences between North American species and those native to Europe and Asia, it was decided to allocate nearly all species in North America to the genera Symphyotrichum and Eurybia. Although this new classification has been adopted by the recently published Flora of North America and commercially in the USA, botanists and growers in Europe will continue to use the previous classification.
We owe the existence of nearly all our popular Michaelmas Daisy cultivars to species native to Northern America. A much lesser number are derived from species of European and Asiatic origins. Only the alpine, Aster sibiricus, is native to North America, Europe and Asia.
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