Aster, a summer- or fall-blooming herbaceous plant. Most species are perennials and belong to the aster genus, which consists of more than 250 species. Plants of this genus are native to temperate areas of the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Asters range in height from five inches (13 cm) to eight feet (2.4 m), depending on the species. The flowers resemble those of the daisy; they consist of a central disc surrounded by numerous rays. The disc is usually yellow and the ray flowers come in a variety of colors.

Many species are grown as garden plants. Wild asters grow throughout North America. Among the more familiar wild asters are the New England aster, the blue wood aster, and the New York aster. Many types of fall-blooming asters are commonly called Michaelmas daisies because they bloom about the time of Michaelmas Day (September 29).

New England astersNew England asters are North American wildflowers resembling daisies.

The China aster, or garden aster, is a popular garden plant. China asters grow from 9 to 24 inches (23 to 60 cm) in height. The flowers, which can be nearly any color but yellow, are borne singly at the end of a long, hairy stalk. China asters are native to China and Japan.

The New England aster is Aster novae-angliae; the blue wood aster, A. cordifolius; the New York aster, A. novi-belgii. The China aster is Callistephus chinensis. All belong to the composite family, Compositae.