Plant of the Week: Tartarian aster
The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.
This week we share with you one of our gardeners’ current favorites.
Tartarian aster, or Aster tataricus ‘Jindai,’ is currently blooming on the High Line. The species Aster tataricus is one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese herbology, where its root has been used historically as an expectorant for respiratory infections. More recently, it has also shown to have strong antimicrobial properties, including inhibiting growth of staph bacteria and E. coli.
This particular cultivar of Aster tataricus was discovered in the Jindai Botanical Garden in Tokyo, which lends the Jindai to its scientific name. Asters occupy a special place in Japanese culture, where they are associated with memory and remembrance. The common Japanese name of shion can be loosely translated as "I won't forget you."
At the High Line, our asters, including tartarian aster, are a favorite of fall pollinators. Buzzing around the small purple-petalled blooms you’ll find Monarch butterflies and several varieties of bees. .
WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT
On the High Line between West 13th and West 14th Streets