By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Here they come – all those mums!

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Somehow, chrysanthemums became the official flower of fall in the USA and I’m not sure why – since mums aren’t American at all, they come from Asia and Europe. What’s more, we have our own patriotic plants that bloom in the fall and I like their colors most of all – you can find American asters that bloom in beautiful shades of purple, blue, pink or white with pretty yellow centers.

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But beyond the flowers, and the fact that these plants belong here, our American asters come back every year and look great in pots and garden beds, they also welcome butterflies with their nectar and offer them a nursery spot to place their babies – which in turn help feed the birds.

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So why do all those places sell mostly mums? I have no clue, but here’s what you can do: when you see mums for sale, ask if they have any asters. If enough people ask for them, maybe next year, we’ll see American asters available all over instead of so many alien mums!