Plant of the Week: Eastern Star White Wood Aster

Eastern Star white wood aster in bloom. Photo by Friends of the High LineEurybia divaricate ‘Eastern Star’is cultivated for its profuse flowers, which bloom in autumn. Photo by Friends of the High Line

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 one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

The flowers of the Eastern Star white wood aster bloom even in full shade. Photo by Friends of the High Line

White wood aster is a pretty name for a pretty flower. For me, the name invokes toadstools, fireflies, and glimpses of the moon through the boughs of trees. Even the scientific name, Eurybia divaricate, feels mysterious, and this plant certainly lives up to my romantic ideas. The flowers themselves are daisy-shaped, with white rays and yellow centers that age to a deep rose color. They grow poised on a framework of delicate mahogany stems above dark green, heart-shaped leaves. Originally collected from coastal Rhode Island, ‘Eastern Star’ is a selection of white wood aster cultivated for its compact size and profuse flowers, even in full shade. It is an autumn blooming plant, and will attract butterflies to the dimmer reaches of your woodland garden.

In nature, the species Eurybia divaricate is found throughout the Eastern United States and north into Canada, but most commonly in the Appalachian mountains. It is a special pleasure to run across white wood aster in its natural forest habitat, where it grows in the shady understory among mosses, ferns, gingers, and other native forest flora. It can be found growing spontaneously in the wooded areas of many of New York City’s parks. On the High Line, Eurybia divaricate ‘Eastern Star’ is growing under the canopy of the Tiffany and Co. Foundation Overlook, between Gansevoort and Little West 12th Streets.

WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT
See Eastern Star white wood aster on the High Line between Gansevoort and Little West 12th Streets.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line’s most important gardening projects – become a member of Friends of the High Line today!

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