Asteraceae - Aster amellus

Those lucky enough to be born in in the month of September can claim the vibrant aster as their birthday flower. They provide an abundance of large blooms in summer and early fall. Asters come in a great variety of colors including red, white, orange and various shades of pink and purple, making them one of the most popular flowers for use in floral arrangements.

Asters in History

It’s estimated that there are more than 600 different species of these colorful wildflowers. Reminiscent of the daisy, asters can be found in North America, Europe, Asia and South America. Despite its appearance, the aster’s large flower is not one single flower, but actual an assortment of many tiny tubular flowers. Ancient Greeks name the aster after the Greek word (astér), meaning star. They often used asters to create wreaths, which they would place on altars to pay tribute to the gods.

One popular myth attributes the origin of the aster flower to the Greek God Virgo who was saddened by the lack of stars in the sky. Upset, Virgo began to cry. As she cried, lovely aster flowers began to grow on each spot where her tears landed.

During the Victorian era, asters became very popular. Victorians were fascinated by floriography – the language of flowers – and woud use the color, type and arrangement of various flowers to send secret coded messages to one another.  Asters conveyed feelings of love, devotion and daintiness.

Colors and Symbolism

  • Asters are associated with the qualities of faith, wisdom and valor.
  • One of the most often selected colors of asters is purple. The color purple represents wisdom and devotion, and has long been used to denote royalty. A bouquet featuring a variety of purple hued flowers next time you want to make someone you love feel like a king or queen.
  • White flowers are associated with innocence and perfection. They can also signify a new beginning, making white asters an ideal choice to give to someone celebrating an engagement, graduation or starting a new job.

Fun Facts about Asters

  • At one time, it was believed that burning asters would provide protection against snakes.
  • Asters are  a favorite flower of butterflies. Because the aster’s flowering season coincides with the peak of their migration, monarch butterflies often use them as stop offs during their annual migrations.
  • The seeds of some varieties of asters look like miniature parachutes, which are carried and spread by the wind.
  • The delicious Mediterranean artichoke shares a connection with the aster. They are both a member of the scientific classification known as the asteraceae.

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, but you don’t have to say goodbye to summer so soon. Not when there are so many varieties of beautiful asters to keep the good vibrations going strong. If you need some help caring for your flowers, this article has some great tips for keeping them looking their best.