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Pink Masterwort

Astrantia major

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Gardens, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

White, many petals
The flowers of Pink Masterwort exhibit a spellbinding allure. Their intricate, star-shaped blossoms, ranging from pale pink to deep crimson, create a captivating spectacle in gardens, meadows, and woodland settings. The delicate umbels boast a nuanced texture, with finely detailed petals elegantly arranged around a central hub. These blooms, resilient in the face of varying climate conditions, make Pink Masterwort a quintessential choice for UK gardens. Their longevity both on the plant and as cut flowers enhances their desirability, while their enchanting presence contributes to the overall charm of the British floral landscape. Insect-pollinated.
The fruit of Pink Masterwort consists of small, rounded seeds enclosed within distinctive follicles. As the flowers mature, these follicles develop at the center of the umbels, creating a unique and visually interesting seed structure. The seeds, once ripened, may be dispersed naturally or collected for propagation. While the fruit of Pink Masterwort may not be as prominent as its ornamental flowers, it plays a crucial role in the plant's reproductive cycle and contributes to the species' naturalization in various habitats across the United Kingdom. Fruits ripen from August and September.
The leaves of Pink Masterwort are characterized by deeply lobed and serrated edges, creating a distinct and ornate foliage. The lush green leaves form a basal rosette, providing an attractive backdrop to the plant's enchanting flowers. Each leaf exhibits a textured surface, adding visual interest and contributing to the overall appeal of the Pink Masterwort. Resilient and adaptable, these leaves thrive in various soil conditions and light exposures, making the plant well-suited for UK gardens. Their intricate form and deep green hue make the foliage of Pink Masterwort a noteworthy feature, enhancing the plant's aesthetic value in both naturalistic landscapes and cultivated settings.
Pink Masterwort is not renowned for a strong or distinctive aroma. While the plant captivates with its visually stunning blooms and lush foliage, it is generally considered to be scentless or to have a very subtle fragrance. The focus of Pink Masterwort's appeal lies predominantly in its visual charm, making it an ideal choice for gardens where the emphasis is on the captivating beauty of the flowers rather than any aromatic qualities. Gardeners and enthusiasts appreciate Pink Masterwort for its ornamental features, and its subtle scent or lack thereof does not detract from the overall allure of this enchanting plant in the UK landscape.
Other Names:
Astrantia, Black Hellebore, Great Black Masterwort, Great Masterwort, Melancholy Gentleman.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Astrantia major, also known as great masterwort, is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is known for its clusters of small, star-shaped flowers that come in shades of pink, red, and white. The plant prefers partial shade and well-drained soil, and can grow up to 80 cm tall. It is often used as a cut flower and in cottage gardens.


Pink Masterwort, scientifically known as Astrantia major, is a beautiful herbaceous perennial plant that is native to central and eastern Europe. It is a member of the Apiaceae family, which includes many well-known herbs such as parsley, celery, and dill. Pink Masterwort is a popular garden plant due to its striking appearance and ability to thrive in a variety of growing conditions.


Pink Masterwort is a clump-forming plant that grows to a height of around 60-80cm. It has dark green, lobed leaves that are deeply divided into narrow segments. The stems are erect and produce a cluster of tiny flowers at the top, which are held in a tight, dome-shaped head. The flowers are typically pink or white, although cultivars with deeper shades of pink or even red are also available. Each flower has a distinctive, central boss of tiny flowers surrounded by several larger petal-like bracts.

Growing Conditions

Pink Masterwort is a versatile plant that can grow in a range of soil types, from sandy to heavy clay, as long as it is well-drained. It prefers a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH and full sun or partial shade. In warmer regions, it may benefit from some afternoon shade to prevent the flowers from fading prematurely. Pink Masterwort is hardy in USDA zones 4-8, and will tolerate frost and snow during the winter months.


Pink Masterwort is typically propagated by division or by seed. Division involves digging up an established plant and separating the clumps into smaller sections, which can then be replanted elsewhere. This is best done in the spring or autumn, when the plant is not in active growth. Alternatively, Pink Masterwort can be grown from seed, which should be sown in the autumn or spring.


Pink Masterwort is primarily grown for its ornamental value, and is popular in cottage gardens and mixed borders. The flowers are long-lasting and make excellent cut flowers, either fresh or dried. The plant is also thought to have medicinal properties, and has been used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine to treat a range of ailments such as digestive disorders, fevers, and skin conditions.

More Information

Pink Masterwort is a great plant to attract pollinators to your garden, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. The central boss of tiny flowers provides a good source of nectar, while the larger bracts attract insects with their bright coloration. This makes Pink Masterwort an excellent choice for wildlife-friendly gardens, as well as those seeking to promote biodiversity.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal properties, Pink Masterwort has cultural significance in some parts of Europe. In Germany, it is known as 'Zungenbrecher' or 'tongue twister' due to the difficulty in pronouncing its name correctly. In traditional folklore, Pink Masterwort was thought to have protective properties and was used to ward off evil spirits and witches.

If you are considering growing Pink Masterwort in your garden, it is important to note that it can spread quite aggressively through self-seeding. To prevent this, it is recommended to deadhead the flowers as they fade, or alternatively to remove the seed heads before they mature. This will help to maintain the plant's vigor and prevent it from becoming invasive.

Pink Masterwort is a low-maintenance plant that requires very little care once established. It is drought tolerant and can handle periods of dry weather, although it will benefit from regular watering during prolonged droughts. Pink Masterwort also has good disease resistance, although it may be susceptible to slugs and snails, which can damage the leaves and flowers.

There are several different cultivars of Pink Masterwort available, each with its own unique characteristics. For example, Astrantia major 'Alba' has pure white flowers, while Astrantia major 'Rubra' has deep pink flowers with a burgundy center. There are also double-flowered varieties, such as Astrantia major 'Florence', which have multiple layers of bracts surrounding the central boss of flowers.

Pink Masterwort can be used in a variety of garden settings, including herbaceous borders, cottage gardens, and rock gardens. It looks particularly effective when planted in groups or drifts, as the clusters of flowers create a striking visual impact. Pink Masterwort also combines well with other plants, such as roses, peonies, and salvias, and is often used in mixed planting schemes to provide contrast and texture.

In addition to its use in traditional herbal medicine, Pink Masterwort has also been used in cosmetics and perfumery. The plant contains various compounds that have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and its essential oil has a pleasant, floral scent. Pink Masterwort is often used as a natural fragrance ingredient in soaps, lotions, and other cosmetic products.

Another interesting aspect of Pink Masterwort is its use in the art world. The plant has inspired many artists over the years, including the famous British painter Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh was known for his distinctive style, which often featured floral motifs inspired by the natural world. He was particularly fond of Pink Masterwort, which he incorporated into many of his designs.

Finally, it is worth noting that Pink Masterwort is an eco-friendly plant that can help to promote sustainable gardening practices. Its tolerance to a range of soil types and growing conditions means that it can be grown without the need for chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This, in turn, helps to protect the environment and promote biodiversity in our gardens and landscapes.

Overall, Pink Masterwort is a fascinating and beautiful plant that has much to offer gardeners, artists, and enthusiasts alike. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its aesthetic appeal, or its ecological benefits, Pink Masterwort is a plant that is sure to captivate and inspire.

30 Inspiring Facts About Pink Masterwort

  1. Pink Masterwort, scientifically known as Astrantia major, belongs to the Apiaceae family.
  2. The plant is native to Europe and is commonly found in meadows, woodlands, and along riverbanks.
  3. Pink Masterwort is known for its intricate, star-shaped flowers that form a dense and captivating umbel.
  4. Despite its delicate appearance, the plant is hardy and resilient, thriving in various soil types.
  5. The flowers of Pink Masterwort can range in color from pale pink to deep crimson, creating a stunning visual display.
  6. Pink Masterwort blooms from late spring to early autumn, providing an extended period of beauty in the garden.
  7. The plant attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem.
  8. Pink Masterwort is often used in traditional medicine for its believed anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.
  9. The leaves of Astrantia major are deeply lobed, adding an interesting texture to the plant.
  10. It is a versatile plant that can thrive in both sunny and partially shaded areas.
  11. Pink Masterwort is an excellent cut flower, making it a popular choice for floral arrangements and bouquets.
  12. The plant has a rich cultural history, with some folklore associating it with protection against evil spirits.
  13. Despite its beauty, Pink Masterwort is considered deer-resistant, making it a reliable choice for gardens with wildlife.
  14. The plant is relatively low-maintenance and can adapt to various climate conditions.
  15. Pink Masterwort has been cultivated in gardens for centuries, and several cultivars with unique characteristics have been developed.
  16. The flowers of Astrantia major have a long-lasting quality, both on the plant and in cut arrangements.
  17. Pink Masterwort is often used in cottage gardens, adding a touch of nostalgia and charm to the landscape.
  18. The plant is known by various common names, including Hattie's Pincushion and Melancholy Gentleman.
  19. Pink Masterwort is a favorite among flower arrangers for its ability to add depth and interest to floral compositions.
  20. The plant's resilience makes it suitable for both novice and experienced gardeners.
  21. In some cultures, Pink Masterwort is associated with love and symbolizes enduring beauty.
  22. The plant is valued for its long-lasting blooms, making it a reliable source of color in the garden.
  23. Pink Masterwort is an excellent companion plant, often enhancing the beauty of neighboring flowers.
  24. The roots of Astrantia major have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.
  25. The plant has been hybridized to produce cultivars with unique flower colors and forms.
  26. Pink Masterwort is an excellent choice for attracting beneficial insects to the garden.
  27. The plant's name "Astrantia" is derived from the Latin word "aster," meaning star, referring to the shape of its flowers.
  28. Pink Masterwort is adaptable to different soil pH levels, making it suitable for a wide range of garden settings.
  29. The plant's resilience makes it a great addition to wildflower meadows and naturalistic landscapes.
  30. Pink Masterwort's ability to self-seed contributes to its naturalization in suitable environments.


Pink Masterwort filmed at Hidcote, Gloucestershire on the 30th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

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