Astrantia major 'Roma'
Common Name: masterwort
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apiaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Rose red with silver-pink bracts
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, medium to wet, well-drained soils in part shade. Soils must be kept uniformly moist and not allowed to dry out. Best performance occurs in cool summer climates where night temperatures consistently dip below 70F degrees, which unfortunately is a cultural preference that does not fit the profile of a typical St. Louis summer where this plant often labors. In optimum growing conditions, plants may spread by stolons. 'Roma' is a patented plant that does not produce seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Astrantia major, commonly called greater masterwort, is an upright, umbelliferous, stoloniferous, herbaceous perennial (carrot family) that is native to mountain meadows, grasslands, woodland clearings and moist areas near streams in Europe and western Asia. Each flowerhead (2-3" diameter) features dense, compact, domed umbels of tiny greenish-white flowers which form a delicate pincushion-like center subtended by a showy collar of papery, petal-like, creamy white involucral bracts. Flowers bloom late spring to early summer atop wiry, branched, nearly leafless stems rising to 24" tall above an 18" tall basal clump of deeply divided deep green leaves (3-6" long) which are palmately cut into 3 to 7 (usually 5) toothed lobes.

Genus name comes from a Greek word astron meaning star in reference to the flower head shape or from magistrantia (derived from the Latin word magister meaning master or teacher).

'Roma' is an upright, umbelliferous, stoloniferous, clump-forming masterwort that typically grows to 20-25” tall. Flowers are arranged in compound umbels. Each pincushion-like umbel of rose-red florets is subtended by a showy ruff of papery, horizontal, petal-like, light silver-pink involucral bracts. Bracts usually remain attractive well after bloom. Flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer on stems rising well above the basal clump of foliage. Leaves are medium green, with each leaf being palmately cut into five doubly serrate lobes. 'Roma' is the product of a planned breeding program in the Netherlands in 1992 between Astrantia major 'Ruby Wedding' (pollen parent) and an unnamed selection of Astrantia major var. involucrata (seed parent). U. S. Plant Patent PP11,470 was issued on August 1, 2000.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs are occasional visitors.

Garden Uses

Part shade areas of perennial borders. Also effective in open woodland, wild or cottage gardens. Good perennial for sun-dappled areas below open trees. Excellent for dried flower arrangements.