Astrantia is a genus of about 10 species of herbaceous perennials in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and Asia.
Astrantias produce long, wiry stems and compact clusters of star-like flowers with an interesting and beautiful shape. Each flower is actually a small umbel composed of numerous tiny flowers, surrounded by petal-like bracts. They bloom in spring and summer in shades of white, pink, purple and red, attracting butterflies and other garden visitors.
The genus name comes from the Latin word “aster”, which means “star”, in reference to the shape of the flower bracts.
Masterwort is a common name for several plants in the family Apiaceae, but usually refers to the genus Astrantia.
The common name Masterwort is derived from the medieval Latin word “magistrantia”, which came from the Latin word “magister” meaning “master” or “teacher”. That name came from the belief that the plant belongs to god (master).
Astrantia symbolizes protection, strength and courage.
Interesting facts about Astrantia:
Several species, such as Astrantia major, Astrantia carniolica and Astrantia maxima, are commonly cultivated at homes and gardens.
There are over50 cultivars available today, with a wide variety of features. The most popular cultivars are ‘Roma’, ‘Superstar’, ‘Bloody Mary’, ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘Shaggy’ ‘Claret’, ‘Alba’, ‘Buckland’, ‘Gill Richardson’, ‘Hadspen Blood’, ‘Star of Fire’, ‘Rosea’, ‘Rubra’, ‘Lola’ and ‘Venice’.
Benefits and Uses
The plant is considered to have medicinal properties and is used to treat ailments such as migraine, colds, dyspnoea, wounds and ulcers.
Astrantia is very popular as an ornamental plant among lovers of interesting flowers. The flowers can be dried and used in arrangements, too.
The flower colors are white, pink, purple and red.
Astrantia can grow up to 90 cm (3 ft) in height.
These plants like fertile and moist, but well-drained soil. Most of them prefer loamy soils that retain moisture, but drain off standing water. However, some species tolerate drier soils and more sun exposure. They do not appear to be fussy about the soil pH.