Starlike flowers, hence the name from the Greek aster, a star (Umbelliferae). Masterwort. Summer-flowering perennials with fascinating papery-looking flowers in shades of green, white and pink The actual flowers are insignificant but they are surrounded by parchment-like bracts that give them colour. They make excellent and unusual cut flowers. Species cultivated A. biebersteinii, 2 feet, flowers light lilac. A. carinthiaca, 1-2 feet, very similar to A. major with which it is often confused, flowers fragrant of marzipan. A. carniolica, 2 feet, white or bluish-pink flowers; var. rubra, reddish. A. major, 2 feet, pink, suffused with green. A. maxima, 2 feet, pink flowers, leaves bright green. A. minor, 9 inches, pale purple flowers, tinted green.
Cultivation Plant astrantias in the autumn or spring in ordinary soil in a shady position in the border or woodland garden. They will grow in more open positions provided they are not hot and dry. Propagate by division at planting time or grow from seeds sown in sandy loam, in April in a cold frame.