The genus Aster includes some 600 species of widely distributed flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Aster comes from Greek word for "star", and refers to the shape of the flower head. Many of the species are popular garden plants because of their showy flower heads. The flowers of the Sea Aster (A. tripolium) are eaten by the larvae of the Wormwood Pug moth. The larva of the Hummingbird hawk moth sometimes eats the foliage of asters.
The genus Aster is now generally restricted to the Old World species, with Aster amellus being the type species of the genus (and of the family Asteraceae). The other species have now been reclassified in the genera Almutaster, Canadanthus, Doellingeria, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oligoneuron, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus and Symphyotrichum (see : List of Aster synonyms).
Some common species are:
Aster amellus (European Michaelmas Daisy or Italian Aster)
Aster cordifolius (Blue Wood Aster)
Aster divaricatus (White Wood Aster)
Aster ericoides (Heath Aster)
Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster)
Aster novi-belgii (New York Aster)
Aster pilosus (Frost Aster)
Aster tripolium (Sea Aster)
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