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Herbaceous Perennial

Astrantia major
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

greater masterwort

A. major is an erect, clump-forming perennial with scarcely 3-5-lobed leaves, and flower stems to 60cm, bearing flower heads in stalked, compound umbels. Clusters of tiny, whitish-green flowers are surrounded by petal-like bracteoles which are whitish, tinged with green and pink, with conspicuous veining. Several subspecies of this plant have contributed to the many garden selections

Other common names
astrantia
black hellebore
see moregreat black masterwort
melancholy gentleman
Synonyms
Astrantia major 'Aunt Hatie's Pincushion'
Astrantia carniolica major
see moreAstrantia biebersteinii

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Green Pink White Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or North–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Apiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Astrantia are clump-forming herbaceous perennials with palmately lobed basal leaves and branched, erect, wiry stems bearing compact umbels of tiny flowers surrounded by a rosette of showy bracts

Name status

Correct

Plant range
C & E Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Best grown in moist, fertile, preferably humus-rich soil in sun or part shade; drier conditions tolerated

Propagation

Propagate by seed in containers in a cold frame as soon as ripe or propagate by division in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Cut back after flowers have faded to tidy and encourage a fresh flush of leaf growth

Pests

May be affected by astrantia leaf miner, slugs and aphids

Diseases

Powdery mildews may be troublesome

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