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.
Regardless of the scientific nomenclature, the aster has a colorful appearance and an even more colorful history and meaning.
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.
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.
What Does a Purple Aster 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 Does a White Aster Symbolize?
White asters symbolize purity and innocence, as many other white flowers do as well.
What Does a Pink Aster Mean?
Pink asters can hold all the meaning of the flower colors mentioned above. However, they can also symbolize love and sensitivity toward others.
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. They viewed asters as a representation of the god Jupiter, too. In the Greek legend, 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.
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