I have always enjoyed learning the names of wild plants, birds, and animals that I encounter. I own quite a few field guides to help me identify them, and can usually figure out even some of the more nondescript trees, birds, and animals. Some plants are difficult to pin down, though, even looking right at them with field guide in hand. Some of Iowa’s wild asters fall into that category. The worldwide aster family is huge; exceeded only by the mostly tropical orchids. One source stated that there are 2687 species in the aster family in the US and Canada. The genus, Aster, is smaller and includes the familiar flowers known as asters, but it’s still plenty large. My 1968 edition Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers lists 44 species. Thankfully, not all of them are native to Iowa, but there are still enough Iowa asters to confuse me at times.