Almost all the Iowa wildflowers have finished blooming for the year, so this weekly series will go into hibernation until next spring. After the jump I've enclosed photos of asters, among the last native flowers you may see during an Iowa autumn. The last picture is of a frost aster, so named because it may continue blooming even after the first frost.
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There are so many different asters with purplish rays that I won't try to identify this species. Like hundreds of plants in the daisy family, these asters have many rays around a disc with tiny "flowerlets." I found these flowerheads on the Clive Greenbelt prairie a few weeks ago. I believe the yellow flowers in the background are cutleaf coneflower. There's a bit of white snakeroot in the foreground.
Here are closer views of the asters.
Last week I featured two plants from the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City. One of the park rangers pointed out this frost aster plant along a sidewalk. I haven't been back since the first frost to find out whether it's still blooming.