Plant name: Prairie aster
Botanical name: Aster turbinellus, syn. Symphyotrichum turbinellum
Virtues: Blooms in fall, from September to November. Unlike other asters, it resists mildew. Native from Illinois to Nebraska and south to Texas and Louisiana.
Flowers: Large in comparison to other asters: about 1.5 inches wide. Petals are violet; eyes are yellow but turn reddish purple once they are pollinated.
Habit: Bushy perennial that grows to 3 feet tall and wide. Branches are thin, wiry and numerous, creating an interesting architecture.
Cultivation: Easy to grow. Average soil. Part sun. Will require staking with too much water or fertilizer—this is a wildflower best left to its own devices. USDA Zones 4 to 9.