This somewhat dingy-looking plant loves to grow in muddy salt marshes close to the seashore; you find it in bloom all round our sea-coasts in autumn.
The Sea Aster is a stout, coarse plant, with straight, stiff stems which are ribbed from top to bottom. The dark green leaves are shaped like a sword, and as they have no stalks, they clasp this rough stem closely on alternate sides. These leaves are thick and fleshy, with smooth edges.
The flowers grow on short stalks, in dense heads which branch from the upper part of the main stem. These heads are made up of two kinds of flowers. In the centre you find a crowded mass of tiny yellow tube-flowers which are evenly notched all round the mouth. And outside these yellow flowers is arranged a double ring of tiny tubes, each of which has a broad, blue strap at one side. These blue straps stand out like a frill all round the centre bouquet of yellow flowers.
These flower-heads are placed in a green cup, composed of row upon row of small green pointed leaves, laid closely one above the other, like the scales of a fir-cone.
After the flowers are withered, the seeds still cling to the end of the stalk, and each seed is winged with a tuft of dingy white cotton down. When the seeds are ripe, the wind blows them away from the plant.
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