The aster has been a favorite around the world for centuries.
While it’s part of the daisy family and often confused as the daisy, because of its similar shape, and it’s ability to grow pretty much anywhere, they are two completely different flowers with very different symbolism.
There are three main types of asters to know, and which are often grown in gardens and included in bouquets and cut flower arrangements. Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, Symphyotrichum novae angliae, and the alpine aster, Aster alpinus.
Asters are hugely colorful flowers, and have a more vivid history and meaning behind these petite flowers that stretches back centuries.
What does ‘Aster’ Mean?
Aster is the Greek word for star, as the thin, long petals arrange around the central yellow eye of the flower in a ray, like a star.
What do Aster Flowers Symbolize?
Like many flowers, the symbolism can change entirely depending on the flower’s color.
Asters do have an overall meaning, however. They can represent elegance, the virtue of patience, emotional sensitivity, and resemble a daintiness with their petite blooms. They also symbolize a desire for peace in a current conflict.
They can embody a love of new things or the novelty that fresh things can provide, as well as the duality of a regret or a wistful feeling of things that never quite happened.
What does a Purple Aster Flower Signify?
Purple aster flowers represent knowledge and loyalty, either to your ideals or the people you hold close.
What does a White Aster Flower Mean?
White asters signify remembrance, innocence, and someone who is pure at heart.
What does a Pink Aster Flower Symbolize?
Pink asters signify affection, love, gratitude, and consideration when it comes to others.
What is the Cultural Significance Behind the Aster Flower?
In a few cultures, asters signify the wish for peace. In France, they were left at the graves of loved ones to symbolize regret that they did not live.
In a Cherokee legend, the blue aster signifies the dresses worn by two sisters, who ran to the safety of the forest to avoid the clash between two tribes.
The Ancient Greeks would burn the leaves of the aster, in order to deter snakes, evil spirits, and bad intent.
They also were symbolic of the Greek god Zeus. The legend of how asters came to be – unsurprisingly – involves him.
Zeus was sick of humanity. He thought their squabbles were petty, mean, and the constant war was getting on his nerves. And really, no one argues with Zeus and gets away with it, except maybe for his wife.
So he did what he felt like, as Zeus does. He flooded the earth and got rid of the annoyance. Only two people survived, who were stuck at the summit of Mount Parnassus.
Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence, had previously returned to the heavens, where she became the Virgo constellation.
She felt horrible for the two, so she created starlight to help guide them down safely.
An alternative story suggests that she hated the lack of light in the night sky. Her tears struck the earth, and asters grew in their place.
Asters are sometimes known as the herb of Venus, as they were often included in love potions.
What does an Aster Flower Tattoo Mean?
Aster flower tattoos broadly represent love, compassion, and elegance, though the meaning is different for everyone. The flower can signify someone who embodies these traits.
As the aster flower is one which is famous for flowering late into the year, it can symbolize endurance and hope.
The aster flower is also the birth flower of September, which can either symbolize the person who has the tattoo, or someone dear to them born in September.
The color and the artistic style of the aster tattoo can also inform the meaning.
When Should You Give Someone Asters?
Asters are great for any occasion, either as a full plant or a cut flower, as the cut flowers last a relatively long time.
The plant itself is a significant gift, as it can produce a plethora of blooms which will return year after year, and the cut flowers last around three weeks.
As the aster is the birth flower for September, they make an apt birthday present, which can also bring a lot of positivity.
It’s also the chosen flower for 20th wedding anniversaries. They also work well as a message of love, or gratitude that the recipient is a kind person with a big heart.
Looking at the cultural significance behind this flower, it’s also a good apology flower or a gift where you’re attempting to make amends with someone, or to encourage them to ‘bury the hatchet’ with someone you both love.
Whatever the reason you choose to give someone aster flowers, they are a notable gift which will last for a long time.