Astrantia major ‘Rubra’

30 Jul

Astrantia major 'Rubra' (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Astrantia major ‘Rubra’ (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Summer to autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 60cm

Eventual Spread: 50cm

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Apiaceae

Astrantia major ‘Rubra’ is a deciduous herbaceous perennial with a clump forming habit. The mid green leaves are palmate with doubly serrate margins, up to 15cm long and 15cm broad. Its fragrant pink flowers are umbrella-shaped, bristly, up to 3cm across.

Astrantia major 'Rubra' Flower (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Astrantia major ‘Rubra’ Flower (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The species Astrantia major, commonly known as the Great Masterwort, Melancholy Gentleman or Hattie’s Pincushion, is native to Europe and Western Asia. In its native habitat it is found in mountain meadows, grasslands, forests, clearings and beside streams.

The etymological root of the binomial name Astrantia is derived from the Latin astrum ’star’, referring to the star shaped flower umbels. Major is derived from the Latin meaning ‘greater’. Rubra is from the Latin meaning ‘red’.

The landscape architect may find Astrantia major ‘Rubra’  useful on the banks of riparian planting schemes including lakes an streams. It is also suitable for use as part of a woodland or prairie type planting schemes.

Astrantia major 'Rubra' Leaf (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Astrantia major ‘Rubra’ Leaf (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically,  Astrantia major ‘Rubra’ flowers are attractive to some beetles (as they pollinate it), and other insects.

Astrantia major ‘Rubra’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Astrantia major ‘Rubra’  requires little maintenance. The flowering stems may be cut back as they start to turn brown to encourage further flowering. Large clumps may be divided in spring, although they may take some time to establish as they do not like to have their roots disturbed.

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