Description & Overview
Bigleaf Aster is a Wisconsin native woodland perennial aster that spreads by rhizomes to form a lush carpet of large, hairy leaves that grow up to 8-inches in length. It has rather delicate flowers with thin lavender/blue petals that appear in late summer. Bigleaf Aster thrives on the edges of woodlands in fertile, loamy, soil that is not-too-wet and not-too-dry.
Bigleaf Aster is a good option for landscapes with trees that cast a dappled shade. With the added benefit of attracting pollinators, it’s well-suited for planting in a woodland garden and would look beautiful amongst Zig-zag Goldenrod and native ferns.
This aster can also be used as a groundcover to stabilize hillsides and slopes.
Bigleaf Aster attracts many butterflies. It’s a larval host plant for Silvery Checkerspot, Pearl Crescent Butterfly, and Goldenrod Hooded Owlet. Many types of bumblebees, Long-Horned Bees, Yellow-faced Bees, Sweat Bees, and Syrphid flies will forage the flowers.
Oligolectic bees from the genus Andrena have been observed visiting Bigleaf Aster flowers. Oligolectic bees are specialist pollinators that forage on a narrow or single genus of a plant.
Maintenance on this plant is low.
Due to its trait of spreading through underground rhizomes, you could choose to thin it out once in a while.
Watering at the base of the plant instead of overhead watering will help keep roots cool and prevent powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew has the potential to appear, but it’s more cosmetic and rarely leads to death.
The genus name, Eurybia, comes from the Greek goddess of the same name who had “mastery of the sea.” She gave birth to Astraeus, the god of the wind and stars, both rather useful if you want to be master of the sea.
Formerly Aster macrophyllus.
Native Americans and early settlers used to cook and eat the leaves.
There are many native understory perennials that would pair well with Bigleaf Aster. Beaked Hazelnut, Wild Sarsaparilla, Whorled Wood Aster, Zig Zag Goldenrod, Spikenard, Maidenhair Fern, Cinnamon Fern, and Christmas Fern fit quite nicely.