Eurybia macrophylla (L.) Cassini
The words or terms in red
(actually dark orange) in the text are defined in a
Eurybia macrophylla (previously usually known as
is a perennial forb native to North America.
It is a widespread ground cover than can form large dense colonies.
Bloom stems are infrequent
and look little like the dense ground covering growth.
The plant belongs to the
so that Eurybia macrophylla would be a strong plant with big leaves,
which is kind of the case.
means very strong, powerful;
means long, large, strong;
(eurybiês) are related to Eurybia of the Greek mythology.
In Greek mythology, Eurybia was married to the titan Crius and gave
birth to three known offspring Astraios, Perses, and Pallas.
She was a minor Sea Goddess under the dominion of Poseidon.
Her parents were Pontos and Gaia. To be married to a titan you have to be
very strong, powerful, which might again qualify the genus.
In Greek mythology, Eurybia was also one of Thespius's daughter.
Thespius was a legendary king of Thespiae, Boeotia.
He was reportedly son of Erechtheus, King of Athens and Praxithea. His maternal
grandparents were Phrasimus and Diogenia. Diogenia was daughter of the river
He married Megamede, daughter of Arneus. They reportedly had fifty daughters
together. Though Thespius may have fathered some of the daughters from unnamed
mistresses with Megamede being their stepmother.
All his daughters came of marrying age but Thespius seems to have sought no
husband for them. He instead desired grandchildren from the hero Heracles. When
Heracles was assigned to kill a lion (not to be confused with the Nemean Lion),
Thespius offered his fifty daughters as a prize. The hunt for the lion lasted
fifty days, and during each night of the hunt Heracles slept with each of the
fifty daughters, who in turn each gave birth to one son.
Alternate sources claim that Heracles slept with the daughters in a single
night. In this version, only forty-nine slept with the hero, with the fiftieth
being destined to serve as a virgin priestess in a temple to Herakles. In this
version there were fifty-one grandsons of Thespius, of which forty colonized
the island of Sardinia. The daughters are often referred to as the Thespiades.
As for Eurybia, one of the fifty daughters, she was the mother of Polylaus.
And being, even for a single night, the wife of Heracles, you had to be
very strong, powerful, which might again qualify the genus.
(The daughters of Thespius were the subject of a 1853 painting by
As for Aster macrophyllus, in Greek,
means star, and the genus name refers then
to the shape of the flower head.
Some of the
vernacular names of
Eurybia macrophylla are
Bigleaf Aster, Largeleaf Aster and
Lumberjack Toilet Paper (see the remarks below
for the origin of this last name). The French names are
Aster à grandes feuilles and Pétouane.
Eurybia macrophylla has also been known as:
- Aster ianthinus E. S. Burgess
- Aster macrophyllus L.
- Aster macrophyllus L. var. apricensis E. S. Burgess
- Aster macrophyllus L. var. excelsior E. S. Burgess
- Aster macrophyllus L. var. ianthinus
(E. S. Burgess) Fernald
- Aster macrophyllus L. var. pinguifolius E. S. Burgess
- Aster macrophyllus L. var. sejunctus E. S. Burgess
- Aster macrophyllus L. var. velutinus E. S. Burgess
- Aster multiformis E. S. Burgess
- Aster nobilis E. S. Burgess
- Aster riciniatus E. S. Burgess
- Aster roscidus E. S. Burgess
- Aster violaris E. S. Burgess
- Biotia macrophyllus (L.) DC.
Eurybia macrophylla is
distinguished by its very large, soft, thick, heart-shaped leaves.
Aster ciliolatus is a bit similar, but its
basal leaves are usually smaller and with winged leafstalks.
Aster cordifolius is a bit similar too, but its
leaves are quite smaller and more coarsely toothed.
The flowering stalk, when present, ranges to 5 feet in height,
is usually hairy, with a short, woody base and is sticky with small glands.
The plant sometimes forms a carpet of leaves,
with only a few plants flowering.
- Thick, usually basal on non-flowering plants but
staggered on the flowering stems.
- Up to 6 by 8 inches in size.
- Coarsely toothed
(Heart-shaped) at the base, tapering to a pointed tip.
- In small flat-topped flowering clusters.
- With 9 to 20 lavender to purple to pale blue to nearly white
- With yellowish disk florets
that becomes reddish in a mature flower.
- 1/2 to 5/8 inch across.
- Hermaphrodite and self-fertile.
- With downy bracts with broad tips.
- Blooming from August to October.
- Pollination by bees, flies,
beetles, bumblebees, moths and butterflies.
A linear (achene)
with a small pappus.
The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.
It requires dry or moist soil, but not wet,
and an acid soil of pH between 5 and 6.
It occurs across a broad range of forest habitats,
and also in open woodlands, in clearings and fields,
along forest margins, roadsides and on disturbed ground.
One can find Eurybia macrophylla in
northeastern USA and southern Canada, in the USA from Ohio and Minnesota
in the west to New England (US) and Nova Scotia (canada) in the east,
southward to Georgia and Missouri.
Occasionally the species is naturalized
The map, from Flora of North America, shows the US States and
Canadian provinces where Eurybia macrophylla can be found.
The Indians are said to have made a tea for headache and used the dried
leaves in lieu of tobacco.
Young leaves have been collected for spring greens.
As the first settlers of North America moved into the woods
the use of this plant as a backwoods replacement for toilet paper
Many outdoor enthusiasts will still find this plant a suitable alternative
when they are unprepared for the call of nature
during the snow-free seasons in the northland.
The photos of the gallery were taken either with one of the following:
The title in the window shows the date when the picture was taken,
i.e. jan_30_06... would mean that the photo was taken on the 30th of
January, the 06 is for the 6th picture taken that day.
- Fuji Mx 700.
- Minolta DiMAGE 7.
- Nikon 2200.
- EPSON Perfection 1650 scanner.
The month, day and picture number might be followed by a letter:
and if there is no letter it's obviously the Minolta.
- f for the Fuji.
n for the Nikon.
- s for the EPSON scanner.
Click on the thumbnails to get larger view.
The original photos are usually in TIFF format,
the photos shown are generally in JPEG format,
usually of dimension one half (surface one quarter)
for loading time reduction.
The two pictures on the left, bottom side of a nasal leaf and its upper side,
were scanned at 150 dpi, and the dimensions were then reduced by 2
(area reduction by 4).
The third picture on the was scanned at 300 dpi, without reduction.
The fourth picture, of leaves on the stem, was a scan at 300 dpi,
and the dimensions were also reduced by 2 (area reduction by 4).
This allows to measure the dimensions of the leaves.