Ionactis linarifolius, sometimes called stiff-leaved or flax-leaved aster, is blooming in one of the sites that has been regularly burned by the Forestry Department for the past few years. Professor Ken Smith is trying to promote regeneration of oak trees on the site, using fire to kill the red maples, which are the main competitor. A side benefit is the abundance of fall wildflowers that are springing up.
This plant is a member of the aster family, characterized by ray and/or disk flowers. Ionactis, the genus, refers to the ray color — “ion” means violet; “aktis” means ray. The genus is a North American endemic, and this species probably has the widest range of all.