Information About Astrantia (Masterwort Plant)
Astrantia Major (Masters of the Night Sky)
The plant genus name is Astrantium. Its scientific name is Amaranthus Majoris.
The species name is Amaranthus Major. There are two subspecies: A. minor and A. major. They are both known as masters of the night sky.
It was once thought that only one species existed. However, it turns out there were several different forms of this plant.
One form had been found growing in northern Europe and Asia. Another form had been discovered growing in Australia and New Zealand. The third type had been found growing in southern Africa and Madagascar. These three types of plants were called A. minor, A. major, and A. romanicus.
There are many varieties of this plant that have been named after various stars in the night sky including Andromeda, Sirius, Altair, Rigelian, Cassiopeia and Regulus among others. There are also other names given to these plants such as “the constellation flowers” or “the constellation flowers with leaves”.
Some other names for these plants are the “astral amaranth” and the “celestial flowers”.
Another name for these plants is master of the night sky. Masterwort is also a word that has been used to refer to these plants.
They have been used as ornamental plants for hundreds of years in many parts of the world. The genus was originally classified by Carolus Linnaeus in 1753. He classified it under the amaranth family.
This plant is part of the amaranth family. It is classified under the scientific name of Amaranthus major.
It is part of the sub-species Amaranthus majorus (A. minor and A. major are the other two subspecies). It has a number of other names including “the master of the night sky”, “celestial flowers”, “masterwort” and “star amaranth”. The three subspecies are A. minor, A. major, and A. romanicus (A. minor and A. major are the most common subspecies).
The plant is known by many other names such as “celestial flower” and “master of the night sky”. The name masterwort is also sometimes used to refer to this plant.
The plant reaches a height of about 8 inches to 3 feet tall. The leaves are dark green and grow on a light green hairy stalk.
The flowers have a diameter of about one to three inches. They consist of a circular arrangement of petals which are often white in color. However, some red varieties exist. The inner part of the flower is a mass of stamens and pistils and it may be tinged with purple or pink. These plants appear from June through to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite. They have a sweet scent.
These plants are native to the areas of north west and central southern Europe, western Asia, the United States, and Canada. They can be found in many areas where the climate is temperate and moist.
They grow well on the edges of woods and fields. They prefer a slightly shady area to full sunlight. They are largely perennial herbs but can also be annuals.
These plants prefer calcareous soils, especially where the soil is rich in nutrients. The plant can grow in poor soils but not in sterile or very rocky ones.
They grow better in a sandy soil which has been enriched with decayed leaf mold. They can tolerate acid to very alkaline soils but they grow much better in mildly alkaline soil. They can also be indifferent of shade or full sunlight.
These plants are easy to cultivate. They can grow in most soils and environments.
They are not exclusively wild plants. They can be grown in a garden from seeds or by dividing the roots. They can also be grown in pots or containers. Pots should be about twelve to eighteen centimeters in diameter. The seeds should be sown in the early spring and they should be pricked out to grow in small clumps rather than being allowed to grow individually.
Seeds can be sown in late winter or early spring. Transplanting should be done as soon as possible after the plants are pricked out.
They are shallow rooted plants and should be watered regularly. They prefer fertile well drained soil.
To get the maximum amount of flowers, the plant should not be allowed to go to seed. They can be harvested by cutting the whole plant just below the base.
This should be done when the flowers are starting to fade. The leaves can be left on for a more decorative effect (they turn a reddish color during the winter).
If allowed to flower, the plant will quickly go to seed and then die. The seeds can be collected from the dried heads and sown in the spring in shallow drills about six to ten centimeters apart.
They can also be propagated through division of the clumps in the early spring or late summer.
The plant is often used for ornamental purposes in gardens, especially cottage gardens. It can also be grown near the house as it has a pleasant smell.
The scent of the flowers is most pronounced in the early morning and just before dusk. The scent is not strong and can only be detected by someone having their nose within a few centimeters of the flower.
The flowers are sometimes added to wine.
The flowers can be used in herbal tea mixtures to give them a sweet scent. They are also candied to flavor fruit cakes and puddings.
The flowers are also dried and used as a substitute for lavender in pot-pourri.
The dried flowers and the herb have long been used to repel insects such as ants, fleas, lice, mice, and mosquitoes.
The leaves can be dried and smoked when fishing to repel midges, which are very common in Scotland.
The seeds can be used as a substitute for coffee.
The roots can be candied and used in herbal tea for a spicy taste.
When laid on an Ant hill the ants will attack and destroy it as they do not like the smell of this plant. They cannot abide it and will attack the plant.
The herb can be used as a wash for neuralgia, headaches, and earache. It can also be used to induce vomiting and to treat diarrhea.
It is used to treat influenza and colds. Externally it is used as a wash to treat sore eyes.
The herb is said to cause abortions and therefore should not be used during pregnancy.
The fresh leaves make an excellent poultice for boils and sores.
The plant contains an irritant that can cause severe blisters. The fumes can also cause headaches.
There has been some concern that the plant can cause miscarriage. Some studies have shown it to be carcinogenic, but other studies have proven otherwise.
It is best not to take chances and it is generally advised that pregnant women do not use the plant in any regard.
Stinging Nettles contain formic acid, which is a type of acid similar to the acid in Ants. These acids interfere with the nerve system and cause the stinging and burning effect.
The formic acid is also an irritant to the skin and can cause redness and swelling.
The best treatment for stinging nettles is to drench the effected area in cold water. This will prevent the formic acid from taking affect.
Once the acid has been washed off, it is no longer a danger.
The best treatment for poisoning caused by ingestion of the plant is to induce vomiting (within two hours and certainly within four hours), then give two teaspoons of activated charcoal mixed in water, followed by a solution of one teaspoon of sodium thiosulphate in water to act as an antidote.
It must be noted that some sources say the best treatment for ingestion is nothing. The reason being that it takes around two hours for the plant to take affect and during this time the stomach will have emptied itself fully of all its contents.
Of course, some people will be in enough distress that they need to be vomiting to be comfortable. This is a personal choice based on how quickly treatment needs to begin and the seriousness of the situation.
Leaves can be cooked and eaten in a similar way to spinach.
People have been known to use the juice to turn their hair yellow.
The roots can be grated and used as a tooth polish.
Compresses of the leaves were used to treat headaches by Native Americans.
The herb is an astringent, a diuretic, and a tonic. It is a stimulant, and was used to treat dysentery and diarrhea.
It is also a mild pain killer.
The leaves can be infused to make a refreshing drink or a mouthwash as an astringent.
The stalks can be eaten like asparagus.
The roots are high in starch and were often ground into a powder to make bread.
The roots can be boiled and the water used as an eye lotion.
The roots were also mashed and put on wounds as a poultice.
Culpeper says that the juice of the leaves when fresh, or the dried leaves themselves are good for all pains in the ears.
The Nettle was used as a charm against witches.
When woven into a crown it is said to keep away nocturnal specters and evil spirits.
It is a symbol of tribulation and endurance.
They were often used in divination.
The plant was dedicated to the god Mercury.
The Nettle has long been a favorite of traditional archers for its excellent flexibility and resistance to breaking. This is due to the layer of tiny circular scars that run along the entire length of each leaf and stem.
These are caused by tiny bristles that grow along the plant’s surface.
The Nettle’s scientific name is derived from the mythologicaluchus, a monster described as having the body of a man and a hundred tentacles like a octopus. The name comes from the Latin word for one Hundred which is centum.
The Nettle is occasionally called Lady’s Gloves, possibly because its leaves resemble small gloves.
In the language of flowers, Nettles represent defense of ones beliefs.
The seeds of the Nettle were once eaten by the Romans after the hairs had been removed. This was said to calm hysteric women.
(Of course, it would probably do that anyway!)
In England, Nettles are considered a great delicacy and specialty soup can be ordered at many pubs during their short season.
The Nettle is the symbol of Wales. It has been used as a national emblem since the 16th century.
It is said that a bride should wear a garter made from the plant in order to be fertile.
Tudor law stated that citizens should wear at least two Nettle leaves in their hats to prevent witches putting a curse on them.
The Nettle was also called the Long Lance and it was customary to lay Nettles beside a door during medieval times so you had something to fight off attackers with.
It is said that, if you stand a Nettle plant near to a tomato plant, the nutrients from the Nettle will improve the flavor of the tomato.
The leaves are sometimes used in herbal tea blends for their astringent quality and high mineral content.
The dried stems can be burned as incense, and the smoke is said to keep away evil spirits.
A tea made from the leaves is used to treat kidney and bladder diseases.
The young shoots in spring can be eaten by humans and was once a very popular vegetable. It is sometimes miss-identified as Asparagus.
(It has a very different flavor though! You can taste the sting!)
The young shoots can also be eaten by goats, who seem to thrive on them.
Nettle roots can be cooked and eaten by humans, but must be prepared properly to remove the stinging quality. First they are soaked in water for 12 hours.
The water is changed every 4 hours, and then the stinging hairs are rubbed off with your hands. It is then simmered for 2 hours.
Boil the roots in water until it is reduced down to a syrup like consistency.
The roots can also be baked and eaten, or dried and ground into a powder for use in soups and stews or even as a coffee substitute.
Nettle tea is often used as a dye for wool. It will turn the wool a vibrant green color.
Nettles were originally involved in the creation of nylon!
Sources & references used in this article:
The genus Astrantia L. in Turkey: morphology and anatomy by A Kaya – Acta Botanica Croatica, 2003 – hrcak.srce.hr
Astrantia plant named ‘Moulin Rouge’ by M Van Noort – US Patent App. 11/057,624, 2006 – Google Patents
Astrantia plant named ‘Star of Fire’ by JR De Jong – US Patent App. 12/150,424, 2009 – Google Patents