Astrantia major 'Sunningdale Variegated'

Common Name: masterwort 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apiaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Pale pinkish-white
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in organically rich, medium to wet but well-drained soils in part shade. May tolerate full sun only in temperate climates with consistently moist soils. 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 will spread by stolons and/or self-seeding in a non-invasive manner to form colonies. Deadhead flowerheads after bloom if self-seeding is unwanted (deadheading may also prolong bloom).

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).

Specific epithet means bigger or larger.

‘Sunningdale Variegated’ is a great masterwort cultivar that is noted for its attractive variegated foliage. This is an umbelliferous, stoloniferous, clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 24” (less frequently to 30”) tall. Each flower is a domed umbel of pinkish-white florets subtended by a showy ruff of papery, petal-like, green, pink and white involucral bracts. Flowers bloom from late spring to early summer. Bracts usually remain attractive well after bloom. Medium green leaves are splotched with cream and pale yellow. Each leaf is palmately cut into 3-7 (usually 5) toothed lobes. Leaves appear primarily in basal clumps, with smaller versions on the stems. Variegated leaf colors tend to fade as summer progresses.


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


Part shade areas of perennial borders. Also effective in open woodland, wild or cottage gardens. Good perennial for sun-dappled areas below open trees. Often thrives along moist stream banks (above water level). Plants will spread to fill in open spaces in woodland gardens, but are not considered invasive. May form colonies over time. Excellent for dried flower arrangements.