Asters belong to the Asteraceae family, which has 20,000 different species. All of the species have flowers with a central disk with or without petals, or rays, surrounding it. The plants produce flowers that are purely ornamental or are part of an edible vegetable. The families do not differentiate between ornamentals and edibles. As long as they have the same characteristics, they are part of the same family.
Chocolate daisy (Berlandiera lyrata) is also known as the chocolate flower, lyreleaf greeneyes and green-eyed lyre leaf and is a native of the United States. The plant is a perennial that grows from 1 to 2 feet tall, producing gray-green leaves with the scent of chocolate and daisy-like flowers with a maroon center and yellow petals that measure 2 inches across and bloom from April through November. Plant chocolate daisy in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is moist to dry. The plant is found in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) is also known as blue mistflower, wild ageratum, pink eupatorium, hardy ageratum and blue boneset. The perennial is found from New Jersey, west to Wisconsin and Kansas, and south to Texas and Florida and is hardy in most of the country except the coldest sections in the north. The plant produces triangle-shaped leaves that grow from 1 to 3 inches long and tiny pinkish-blue flowers that bloom in 2- to 4-inch-wide clusters in the fall. Plant mistflower in full sun or partial shade and in moist soil.
Desert zinnia (Zinnia acerosa) is a perennial also known as dwarf zinnia and dwarf white zinnia and is native to the United States. The plant grows from 4 to 10 inches tall and produces narrow leaves that measure up to 1 1/2 inches long. The flowers bloom in June, July and August and have a yellow center surrounded by off-white petals. The plant's natural habitat is the prairies, plains, meadows, pastures and savannas of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. Plant desert zinnia in full sun and a dry soil.
Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) is also known as vegetable oyster and purple salsify and is an edible root crop. The plant is a native of the Mediterranean and produces grass-like leaves that grow up to 2 feet tall produces rose-purple flowers in the second year. Plant salsify in full sun and in a moist, rich soil. The plant is hardy in all of the United States except for the coldest zone in the north and the hottest zone in the Florida Keys and Southern California.