- As summer winds down across the Untied States, some wildflowers are just beginning to come into bloom. These flowers will blossom forth in August and September, with some keeping their flowers until October in parts of their range. Entire families of flowers, such as the asters, are traditionally late bloomers, with the New England aster one species that you can find as the calendar leans towards autumn. Two other wildflowers, the common morning glory and butterfly weed, also produce flowers as summer wanes.
New England Aster
- The New England aster is a prime example of the late summer wildflowers of the Aster family. It grows in moist areas such as swamps, wet meadow lands, thickets and ditches. Despite its name, it exists across much of the country. It grows as far south as Georgia and as far to the west as parts of Oklahoma, with small populations in some of the far western states. The New England aster often grows over 6 feet tall and has a strong erect stem that branches out near the top. The flowers grow in clusters at the ends of the branches, which have many rough, hairy leaves. The flower petals are usually lavender or purple, arranged around a yellowish center disk. By late summer, this wildflower is in bloom, often growing together in large stands of plants bordering fields where enough moisture occurs.
Common Morning Glory
- Common morning glory, a plant that grows as a vine and requires full sun to thrive, blooms into August and September. Common morning glory is a relative to the sweet potato plant and one of 50 species that originated in the tropics of Central and South America. The flower is an "escaped" plant, meaning those that grow in the wild in the United States at one time were ornamentals in gardens, before their seeds made their way into the surrounding countryside. The fact that birds and other animals love to eat the seeds helped their spread across America. The vines can reach lengths of up to 10 feet, wrapping themselves all over any upright object, including fences, trellises, stone walls and shrubs. The flowers look like delicate funnel-shaped trumpets, with blue, purple, white or pink colors. The flowers are as long as 3 inches in some cases and the leaves of this wildflower look like little green hearts.
- Butterfly weed is part of the milkweed family, but rather than possessing the milky sticky sap of the familiar milkweeds, it has a clear watery mixture in its stems. Butterfly weed will bloom into the early fall throughout its geographic distribution. It grows to heights of 2 feet in dry fields across much of the East and Southwest, producing brilliant orange flowers that butterflies flock to in search of nectar. According to the "National Audubon Field Guide to Wildflowers," this late summer flower can grow in wildflowers garden with little effort. Known also as orange milkweed, it will develop hairy pods that contain seeds. These pods crack open and allow the wind to scatter the seeds about the countryside.