Friday, November 2, 2012
Maryland Goldenaster - Chrysopsis mariana
Maryland goldenaster (Chrysopsis mariana) occurs nearly statewide in Florida, except the extreme southern tip, and across the Southeastern Coastal Plain and north to New York and New Jersey. This member of a widely distributed genus is most often found in well-drained uplands and disappears quickly if soils become wet for any length of time.
Of the eleven distinct species of Chrysopsis goldenasters, Maryland goldenaster may be the showiest and best suited for home landscapes. While many species in this genus are a bit weedy in appearance, Maryland goldenaster has rather lush foliage and dense heads of flowers in late fall. For the most part, this species does not become taller than about 2 feet. The stems are rigid and not prone to falling over and the overall aspect is full and rounded. Like other members of this genus, the basal leaves are somewhat wooly, but the leaves along the main stem are not. These laaves are somewhat elliptical and a bit "hairy".
Flowering occurs in fall - late October to early November in central Florida. Dense clusters of flower heads are produced at the top of each stem. The heads are large for the genus - about 3/4 inch across, and bright yellow. Asters in general are excellent at attracting pollinators and Maryland goldenaster is no exception.
Chrysopsis goldenasters are deciduous in winter, but often maintain their basal leaves if temperatures are not too cold. Leave the dead stems with the seedheads and allow this plant to reseed in your landscape.
Maryland goldenaster is not widely grown, but can be found with some searching. I admire this goldenaster, but have found it to be sensitive to its growing conditions. Do not attempt to use it if you cannot give it good drainage and plenty of sunshine. In the right place, this plant persists and reseeds well. In the wrong location, it dies quickly. My suggestion for those of you that wish to try it is to plant a few plants in several different locations and then let it find its ultimate location by reseeding.