Elegant yet dainty at its core, the aster is a common flower that has been found in the wild – and widely revered! – for centuries.
This beauty is often confused with the daisy, and while the two share several characteristics – they both like to grow in wild areas like roadsides, pastures, and alpine areas – true asters have their own unique symbolism and meaning to be aware of.
There are several types of asters that you might find growing in the wild and in peoples’ gardens (as well as in floral shops and boutiques). The most common are Symphyotrichum oblongifolium and Symphyotrichum novae angliae. Another kind of aster is the alpine aster, or aster alpinus.
Aster flowers have a rich flower meaning – and are known by many names, including Michaelmas daisies.
Regardless of the scientific nomenclature or common name used, the aster has a colorful appearance and an even more colorful history and meaning.
Let’s take a look at the aster meaning by color, culture, and so much more!
What Does Aster Mean?
The word “aster” comes from the Greek word for “star.” This is an easy translation to remember, as the flower’s petals are arranged in a star-like fashion.
The aster genus has many common species, including the Michaelmas daisy and New England Aster. The Michaelmas daisy is a vibrant blue or purple that usually grows up to two feet high. It blooms from late summer until early winter.
Similarly, the New England Aster, is a robust perennial that can grow up to seven feet in height. Commonly found in the US, it thrives in full sunlight and well-drained soil. It is also a late bloomer, flowering from late summer to early fall.
The diversity of aster flowers is fantastic as they come in many colors such as white, pink, blue, and purple, and some species combine two or three colors. For example, the White Heath Aster is small and delicate, and its flowers have white petals that surround a yellow center. It is a bloomer from midsummer to early fall.
The Smooth Aster is another species that has blue-purple flowers with yellow centers and blooms in early to late fall.
Aster flowers are essential for pollinators. They attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds with their colors and shapes by providing nectar. They also provide refuge and food for pollinators that need energy for migration.
Some species of aster allow butterfly larvae to feed on their leaves, providing food for the caterpillar stage of the butterfly’s lifecycle. Furthermore, asters are known for keeping ecosystems healthy by playing a role as food and habitat providers for animals and insects.
What Does the Aster Flower Symbolize?
Like many flowers, the aster flower has a variety of meanings that vary according to the specific color of the plant.
However, asters are usually used to symbolize common themes like daintiness, elegance, patience, and a love of new things. They can also be used to symbolize a wistfulness for things that almost were.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the remaining aster flower meanings by color.
What Do Purple Aster Flowers Mean?
In addition to the meaning as mentioned above, purple asters are also used to symbolize loyalty and wisdom. Purple is the most common aster color.
What is the White Aster Flower Meaning?
White asters symbolize purity and innocence, as many other white flowers do as well. White aster flowers can also be great gifts for events like baptisms and marriages.
Because white asters symbolize purity, they are great for giving to children as well.
What is the Pink Aster Flower Meaning?
Pink asters can hold all the meaning of the flower colors mentioned above. However, they can also symbolize love and sensitivity toward others.
What Do Red Asters Symbolize?
Red asters have long been associated with romantic love and passion. It’s believed that these flowers convey deep and intense emotions, making them a popular choice for expressing love.
Red asters have been used as a symbol of love in art and literature, and even in ancient times, they were given as tokens of affection.
What is the Cultural Significance of Aster?
The aster has a great deal of cultural significance. Its meaning varies depending on the cultural lens with which you are viewing it.
The ancient Greeks, for instance, used to burn the leaves of the aster plants, believing that the smoke would ward off evil spirits and snakes. Greek mythology viewed asters as a representation of the god Jupiter, too.
In the Greek legend for aster mythology, when Jupiter flooded the planet to kill the fighting men, Astraea, a goddess, was so distraught that she turned into a star.
Jupiter granted her wish, but later, Astraea wept out of sadness. Her tears became stardust and created aster flowers where they landed.
Other cultures have their own rich legends when it comes to the aster flower. A Cherokee legend goes that the aster represents the blue fringed dress worn by two sisters who fled to the forest to avoid battling tribes. In Germany and England, it was believed that aster flowers held magical powers.
And in France, bouquets of asters were placed on the graves of fallen soldiers as a representation of the wish that the battle had had a different outcome.
Native Americans used asters as a symbol of patience. They also used the aster root and leaves to make tea that treats symptoms of lung and kidney problems. In ancient times, asters were used both as medicine and in rituals.
Aster as the September Birth Flower
The aster flower symbolism doesn’t end there! The aster flower is also the birth flower for the month of September.
It is a perfect representation of the traits associated with those born in September, which are modesty, loyalty, and patience. The birth flower extends beyond the ceremonial birth ritual and can also be an offering of good luck, congratulations, and blessings.
What is the Symbolism of an Aster Tattoo?
The aster is September’s birth flower, so it’s not unusual to see people who were born in September sporting aster tattoos. However, the tattoo can also be used to symbolize love and daintiness, depending on how it is artistically portrayed and used.
When Should You Give Someone an Aster?
Asters are appropriate for just about any occasion. They are the birth flowers for September and also a flower that is given on 20th wedding anniversaries.
They last a long time in a vase, when cut – up to three weeks, in many cases. Because you can find asters in just about any color, they work well for most events and gifts.
Check our blog to learn more about flowers and their symbolism.
*Photo by Nitrub/depositphotos