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ASTER : MICHAELMAS DAISY : Aster x salignus or SEA ASTER : Bellis perennis ? 

The first one of the season was found on the upper Leven towpath. An exact identification has not been made here and this one is most probably a bred hybrid escaped from a garden. Over the summer quite a few more appeared. And then later a vast spread of such flowers in the area between Havoc Hole and the Clyde.

The first description appears closest for the flower and leaves, but not the habitat. The second description appears closest for the flower and habitat, but not the leaves. (if you are a keen gardner, you may consider the myriad of similar flowers, mainly hybrids, under the genus of symphotrichums, which after all come under the group family of asteraceae).

It nevertheless quite startling to find the flowers along the upper Leven towpath pictured below amongst loosetrife, reed grass and other plants right in the water of the Leven alongside the small slipway that extends down opposite Alexandra Street near India Street in Alexandria. Those on the Clyde shore at Havoc were holding out against various other plants into October.

MICHAELMAS DAISY : Aster x salignus. This species of aster is found naturally in the mountains of Europe and some parts of Asia, but has become well known in the UK as a garden flower over a long time. This one is most likely a bred variant of the original introduced plants. The French website luontoportti.com IE NatureGate (translated) says this : Aster x salignus (Symphyotrichum salignum) is a cross between the New Belgium aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, also Latin Aster novi-belgii) and the lanceolate aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum, another Latin name Aster lanceolatus), but it behaves as an independent species. The hybrid was created by gardeners who were looking for new perennials. Aster x salignus is a lovely ornamental plant that is content with little. It grows in old gardens and often naturalizes from places where it was planted. It is probably for this reason that Aster x salignus has been replaced in contemporary gardens by species or varieties of asters that behave better and are more imposing.

SEA ASTER : Bellis perennis : The Green Guide to Wild Flowers describes this as Forming large clumps in salt-marshes, this upright perennial has stout, branched stems 15-100cm tall. Leaves 70-120mm, spirally arranged on stem,. thick, succulent, sometimes toothed. Flowers July-October. Daisy-like flower-heads of purple and yellow are 8-20mm wide; each formed by hermaphrodite inner florets surrounded by female outer florets, both within sepal-like bracts; sepals are hair-like; 5 petals form a tube, outer florets form a long lobe; with stamens and 1 stigma. Nut-like fruits are 5-6mm with parachute. Grows in salt-marshes, on sea-cliffs or rocks.

The leaves of this one are illustrated as being oval, while the former are more elongated as our example. However the habitat of the former, in origin anyway, is high altitude, while the latter is in or near water. 

This striking flower was noticed in late July amongst other plants on the edge of the Leven.

A closer look reveals its elongated leaves.

Extraordinary colours glowing in the morning sunshine. Note the inner and outer florets.

And into August we find quite a lot of them a little upstream from the first few. They don't seem to mind getting their toes wet when the river level rises.

Most are still looking great in late August although some blooms have shrivelled to dry brown balls ready to produce seeds.

A vast spread of asters on the Clyde Shore at Havoc.

GREEN GUIDE - WILD FLOWERS OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND : David Sutton. Illustrated by Colin Emberson. 1992. New Holland Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1 85368 162 8.

NATURE GATE / : https://luontoportti.com/fr/t/2359/aster-x-salignus-fr

UK WILDFLOWERS : https://www.ukwildflowers.com/Web_pages/aster_sp_michaelmas_daisy.htm

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