Weatherford News

‘Where have all the Asters gone?’ New names on shelves

A rose may still be a rose, but some familiar plants in your garden and local nursery are now carrying new scientific names, thanks to recent discoveries using modern microscopy, genetics, DNA analysis, chromosome study and the like.

For example, spider lilies have been moved from the lily family to the amaryllis family. The native tree commonly known as Eve’s necklace has a new scientific name. And milkweeds are now in the dogbane family.

Texas Master Naturalist Jim Varnum will make sense of the new research for the layman as well as the botanist during a presentation at the March 13 meeting of the Cross Timbers Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. His talk, titled “Where Have All The Asters Gone?” begins at 7 p.m. at the Cherry Hill Park community building, 313 Davis St., Weatherford.

“You may see unfamiliar names and families on labels at you local nursery, in your wildflower catalog and on the Internet but the plant is the same,” Varnum said. “The common name is the same.”

Varnum’s interests range from birds to plants to prairies to land preservation. He spends much time searching for native plants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. He also teaches, gives programs and leads trail walks on birds, trees, wildflowers, prairies and land preservation.

The Cross Timbers Chapter mission is to promote the conservation, research and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas, through education, outreach and example. Chapter meetings are held the second Thursday of the month, with a short business meeting at 6:30 p.m., followed by socializing and refreshments and an educational program at 7 p.m. The public is always welcome. For information, go to or call Eileen Porter 817-596-5567.