Erect perennial herbs with palmately-lobed leaves, not spiny. Umbels simple or compound, exceeded by the radiating coloured involucral bracts. A genus of a few variable species, which have received a great many names, and consequently there is much confusion in the nomenclature. Natives of Europe and Western Asia. Name from 3 Astrantia 193 a star, in allusion to the umbels.

1. A. major, Masterwort. - A branching herb about 2 feet high. Leaves on long petioles, with 3 to 7 lanceolate serrate lobes. Bracts and flowers pink or white. Central and Southern Europe, and occasionally as a garden outcast in this country. There are several varieties of this, some more highly coloured than others, and the best are worthy of a place in every garden.