While the majority of flowers across the United States will bloom in the spring or summer months, some bloom when the calendar turns to autumn. Among the flowers with these late-blooming tendencies are asters, which typically are just coming into blossom as many other flowers are on their last legs. Other autumn flowers include the showy cardinal flower, the sturdy-stemmed ironweed and the blazing star.
The asters number as many as 150 species in the continental United States, with the majority of them located in the eastern half. Asters have a star shape with multiple outer rays that resemble petals surrounding an inner section called a disk. Asters thrive in fields, on the sides of the road and in woodlands, growing in clusters that create a picturesque sight once the flowers do bloom. While some asters, like the heath aster, bloom in late summer and then throughout the fall, others such as the New England aster typically will not blossom until September and October.
It is possible to find a cardinal flower in bloom in September and into October. This brilliant red flower, as tall as 4 feet in some cases, stands out like a sore thumb against the green background of the rivers and streams it grows along. There is just one species of cardinal flower in the United States, and, according to the "National Audubon Society Filed Guide to Wildflowers," in some places they are rare because too many admirers pick them. Cardinal flowers get their name from their color, which is the same as the bird with that name.
Ironweed's very stout and tough stem gives the plant its name. It blooms as late as October and produces darkish purple flowers that look like those of the thistle. Ironweed has narrow leaves that are as long as 10 inches and the entire plant may be up to 7 feet high. Ironweed grows in the East in open fields, pastures, meadows and along roadsides. Two types, New York ironweed and tall ironweed, are the most common of the nearly 20 varieties in the United States.
In the prairie states, every fall the blazing stars begin to blossom. These are long and thin plants that thrive in the dry soil. Most are some shade of purple, from lavender to magenta, and they can be 4 feet tall. Some kinds of blazing stars, like the tall blazing star, have tall stems with spikes of these flowers that give the plant a feathery appearance. Blazing stars will still be blooming as late as October.