African Garden + water

Help! ID Needed for Mystery Plant

But, first, a little background. Last Wednesday, I accompanied the girl's 4th Grade fieldtrip to Flint Creek Savannah, in Lake Barrington, IL. It is owned by, and adjacent to the headquarters of, Citizens for Conservation. I had never been out on the savannah there before, only to the headquarters, where volunteers are trying to establish a rare habitat, the gravel hill prairie.

They also have raised beds

filled with Gardening Gone Wild's Plant of the Month, Prairie Dropseed (Sporabolus heterolepsis).

I have this grass at home, but seeing it in a mass planting (with Redtailed Hawk)

planted a seed in my fallow mind which, watered by Frances's photos of Fairegarden's Muhly Grass, has made me realize how great Prairie Dropseed would look lining my driveway. But I digress.
I'm not going to get all sappy and sentimental about how children are our future. After the prairie activities of measuring and drawing prairie plants, and collecting the seed of Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) and Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans),

the kids were taken on a walk to see the savannah part.

A savannah (as opposed to a prairie) is a grassy wooded area. Here in Northern Illinois, the predominate trees of the savannah are the Oaks.

On the way there, we passed prairie plants in their full autumn glory.

Stiff Gentian (Gentianella quinquefolia)

Compass plant (Silphium lacinatum)Late September truly is the best time to be in the Chicago area, not only for the perfect weather, but for the best experience of the prairies.
After getting a view of Flint Creek, we turned around and headed back.

I was literally stopped in my tracts by an ex-Aster that I have to have. Can anybody identify this plant so I can get one? (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I was struck by the foliage that had completely turned red while the plant was still blooming.Feel free to identify the other two plants I posted without captions.*
The yellow-flowered plant is either Solidago missouriensis or Oligoneuron rigidum (Stiff Goldenrod). Thanks Gail & Monica!

art, autumn, blooming, field trips, garden, gardening, plants, Prairie Dropseed, prairie plants, Sporabolus, time, and more:

Help! ID Needed for Mystery Plant + water