Herbs & Plants

Great Masterwort(Astrantia major )

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Botnical Name : Astrantia major
Family : Umbelliferae/Apiaceae
Genus : Astrantia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Species: A. major

Synonyms : Astrantia biebersteinii – Trautv.  Astrantia carinthiaca – Hoppe. ex Mart.&Koch.,  Astrantia carniolica – Hort. non Wulfen.,Astrantia trifida – Hoffm.Great_Masterwort

Common Name: Great Masterwort(

Habitat : C. and E. Europe. Naturalized in Britain.  Moist woodlands and the banks of streams. It grows on  Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge.

Perennial growing to 0.8m by 0.5m.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Beetles, insects. The plant is self-fertile.

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Masterwort produces many small, ivory flowers that are flushed pink and bloom continuously throughout the summer and fall, wafting a sweet scent. Like Queen Anne’s lace, each masterwort blossom is an umbel of tiny flowers, framed by a collar of papery bracts.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Prefers a fertile moisture-retentive soil. Succeeds in most well-drained soils in full sun or part shade. Succeeds in an open woodland and along the sides of streams so long as the soil is well above the water level. Plants are hardy to at least -17°c. Plants spread by means of underground runners. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value. The flowers are sometimes dried and used for winter decoration.

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed as early in the year as you can obtain it. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown in situ either as soon as it is ripe or in the following spring. Division in spring. Large clumps can be planted out straight into their permanent positions. Smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well and can then be planted out in the summer.

There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database

Medicinal Actions &  Uses:

Diuretic; Purgative.
The rhizomes and flowering stems have medicinal action.  Their main constituent is an essential oil that acts as a stomachic.  In herbal medicine the dried herb is used in an infusion or as a powder to promote the flow of digestive juices and thus stimulate the appetite.  Great masterwort is also included in diuretic tea mixtures.  A decoction of the root is purgative.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



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