Asteraceae, from the Greek, "Star".
Largest of our flower families, and well-represented in the annals of Hoot Owl Karma.
Golden children both, stars among the Carolina flora, Asters in the truest sense of the name.
And then there's cousin purple...
The autumn traveler, eyes drawn to the ditch bank by scarlet sumac and sweet gum's coat of many colors, might spy in the shadows a most potent purple, a lavender most luscious, an amazing amethyst, yet... nonchalant, nuanced, even nerdy, blithely belying any notion of the stardom implied by its family name.
Purple Aster, black sheep, the anti-star.
Ray flowers uneven, scrawny, askew.
Awkwardly invading the others' space.
NOT a golden child.
Looked past and ignored by their little white kin, relegated to the role of also-ran,
barely beating first frost, late to the show again, fleeting flowers of fall.
Redeeming qualities? Perhaps.
Their name, at least, is Aster. Yes. They do have that going for them...