A Boutonniere for Frankenstein : Talking Plants Blog One of our more prolific friends from the Talking Plant Flickr party recently posted a photo that defied the dictum, Seeing Is Believing. It was, she said, an aster, but I couldn't believe m
NPR logo A Boutonniere for Frankenstein

A Boutonniere for Frankenstein

One of our more prolific friends from the Talking Plant Flickr party recently posted a photo that defied the dictum, Seeing Is Believing. It was, she said, an aster, but I couldn't believe my eyes.

Aster or mutant mum? It took me a while to sort it out. photo credit: aleth11 hide caption

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photo credit: aleth11

In a follow-up e-mail, our friend Aleth wrote that her picture may have come out a bit bluer than the real thing, but at the time I didn't realize just how much bluer. So I starting a blogging tirade about genetic tinkering and plant colors that better suited M&M's.

Fortunately, before I posted it, I heard again from Aleth, whose follow-up pix of her new purchase showed the plant in its truer color. It was indeed an aster, the recently annointed Henry III, and not nearly as Frankenstein-like as I'd feared. I am so relieved she sent the follow-up pix before I made a total ass of myself and wrongly maligned Henry's parents, Yoder Brothers for unleashing a monster.

Aster or mum? The answer's Aster 'Henry III', but you'd be hard- pressed to tell from the flower, form or foliage. photo credit: courtesy of Yoder Brothers hide caption

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photo credit: courtesy of Yoder Brothers

Compare and contrast. This native aster and its abundant friends are now blooming along the Connecticut River in New England. Can't you just hear the water, feel the wind? photo credit: Christine4nier hide caption

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photo credit: Christine4nier

Still, I'm stumped. What happened to the aster and it's essential asteraceousness? Why is it posing as a marigold, or mum?

Right now, in fields and streams across the country (even in the Santa Fe neighborhood I write from, where asters are blooming amidst yellow chamisa, a.k.a. Chrysothamnus nauseosus!), asters are strutting their lean, lanky, and button-eyed blossoms. They are looking gooood.

SO...I'm throwing it out to you guys. How much genetic tinkering can you take?