Aster flowers Mythology

Asters and Goldenrod, Mythology

December 26, 2012 – 12:34 pm

The aster flowers are the

University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Fall News Article


Contact: Dr. Leonard Perry. Extension Professor
University of Vermont

As fall arrives in the northeast, so do the asters and goldenrod in the fields. Although native to our area, many forms of these plants also are native to other parts of the world and are recorded in myths passed down over the centuries.

In Latin aster means star, the name also used by the Greeks for this flower. The "star-flower" was believed to be sacred to the gods and so wreaths of asters were placed on their altars. Aster leaves were burned to frighten away serpents in medieval Europe and roots were crushed and fed to bees in poor health. Although the early English name was "starwort, " later the flower was named "Michaelmas Daisy" as it blooms around St. Michaelmas Day in September.

One ancient myth arises from the Iron Age, when people learned to make tools as well as weapons of iron. The god Jupiter, angered by all the fighting and destruction from these iron weapons decided to destroy the entire race by a flood.

The gods fled the earth and the last to go, the goddess Astraea, was so saddened she asked to be turned into a star. Meantime, two mortals who had been faithful to the gods fled to the top of Mount Parnassus and were spared by Jupiter.

When the flood waters receded, all that was left around the two mortals was mud and slime. Astraea felt so sorry for them she wept, her tears falling as stardust which, when upon hitting the earth, turned to lovely starflowers or asters.

Another myth comes from Greek mythology. Each year Aegeus, king of Athens, would send seven young men and seven maidens to the king of Crete. There they would be sacrificed to the Minotaur, a creature with a bull's body and human head.

One year Aegeus' son Theseus volunteered to be one of the youth, believing he could slay the Minotaur. When he sailed for Crete he told his father, who dearly loved his son, that when he returned he would fly white sails on the ship instead of the black ones that were raised when the ship left.

Theseus did arrive at Crete, where he fell in love with the king's daughter Ariadne. With her help, he entered the labyrinth and killed the Minotaur.

However, on his return to Athens, Theseus forgot to hoist the white sails. Seeing the black sails his father, believing his son had been killed, then killed himself. Purple asters sprang up from the ground where his blood flowed, the result of a spell put on him by sorceress Medea, who had been once been his wife.


50 WONDER OF STAFFA ASTER Aster Frikartii Flower Seeds
Lawn & Patio ()
  • BLOOM TIME: Late Summer - Early Fall
  • PLANT HEIGHT: 18 - 24 . . . PLANT SPACING: 18 - 24
  • LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Sun - Part Shade . . . SOIL/WATER: Average
  • Attracts bees, butterflies, and birds.

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Whiteflower Farms

Instead of bothering trying to chill and start your seeds indoors, suggest you might Google up the site for White Flower Farms. They sell wildflower seed by the ounce or pound, it's not terribly expensive and it's ready to go into raked and prepared soil. They have several butterfly mixes.
Also, if you're only thinking of putting in a few plants, I suggest plain ol' regular ol' pink coneflowers (Echinacea) which are commonly available at nurseries. Also, if you can find it for sale somewhere, the ultimate Monarch magnet (in my opinion) is Boltonia asteroides. This is a 4-6 foot tall, late-blooming fall flowering aster which, when I grew it in New England, would be...

100 PURPLE NEW ENGLAND ASTER (Michaelmas Daisy) Aster Novae var Angliae Flower Seeds
Lawn & Patio ()
  • BLOOM TIME: Fall
  • PLANT HEIGHT: 36 - 48 . . . PLANT SPACING: 18 - 24
  • LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Sun - Part Shade . . . SOIL/WATER: Average
  • These large showy flowers attract birds, bees, and butterflies including MONARCHS!

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