Description, useful properties, application and cultivation of asters
Botanical characteristics of the alpine aster
Aster belongs to the genus of herbaceous plants, the Asteraceae family. Asters are mainly used as ornamental plants with unique inflorescences that are expertly disguised as large flowers. Aster is a perennial plant with a well-developed, branched root system. In many botanical sources, alpine aster is noted as a semi-shrub plant up to 50 cm in size.
Flower stems reach 25-30 cm in length, strictly slender, slightly fluffy. Basal and bractal leaves are small, linear, single-lobed, in contrast to stem leaves - longer, oblong, rising high towards the sun, slightly curved towards the edge. A characteristic feature of the alpine aster leaves is a pleasant white transparent fluffiness. Alpine aster leaves do not fall off in winter, they retain their green color.
Aster inflorescences take the form of single baskets up to 6–8 cm in diameter. The petals have shades of the entire purple palette: lilac, blue, white, pinkish-purple, lilac, sometimes crimson. Receptacle or tubular flowers are mostly yellow. Aster blooms very early compared to other species of the Aster family: in early June. It blooms brightly and colorfully, pleasing the eye of any gardener until mid-August.
The fruits take the form of seeds with a hairy tuft. Alpine aster seeds can be harvested in August. It is widespread in the Caucasus, Transcarpathia, the Northern Urals, Siberia, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, as well as western North America and many other countries.
This plant prefers nutritious, moist soils, but in no case waterlogged. Does not like partial shade, develops well in the sun. Loves drained soil, fertilizers, responds well to lime. The most important condition for the long life of an alpine aster is that it needs to be transplanted with an interval of no more than 5-6 years from one place to another. Aster propagation occurs by dividing the bush, sowing seeds through seedlings, and also in open ground. Landing time is also important - at the end of April (subject to warm weather) or in May.
There are numerous varieties of Alpine aster, the difference of which is mainly characterized by color: variety "Wunder" (dark purple flowers), "Alba" (white flowers), "Gyute" (pink flowers), "Goliath" (purple flowers), " Dunkle Chenes "(purple flowers)," Rum "(dark purple flowers)," Ruber "(red flowers)," True "(light blue)," Subbus "(blue flowers)
Useful properties of asters
Aster flowers are widely used in folk medicine. Herbalists who know a lot about the usefulness of this beautiful plant begin collecting young flowers at the beginning of their flowering. All parts are suitable for collection: roots, stems, leaves, flowers. Aster is dried in the fresh air under awnings, flowers - separately from other parts. The roots are dug up in September and dried at a temperature of 40-50 ° C in dryers under a canopy.
In multi-colored petals and yellow-green cinnamon, there are many useful alkaloids, saponins, flavanoids (which contain derivatives of quercetin, isorhamnetin, rutin) and ascorbic acid, which is essential for health.
The underground part of the aster contains coumarins and polyacetylene compounds.
Aster is rich in its healing properties. Thanks to the coumarins, saponins and flavonoids it contains, it serves as a good antipyretic and expectorant agent. It is also noted that aster infusions easily relieve itching, inflammation in dermatitis. Broths and infusions of asters are used for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (colitis, ulcers, gastritis, heartburn), flu, colds, diseases of bone joints, eye diseases and even tuberculosis.
In oriental medicine, aster is used for decoctions for malaria and bleeding problems. For the elderly, aster tinctures are good tonics. Aster infusions treat neurasthenia and dizziness, sometimes used as an antihelminthic agent. In Tibetan and Japanese medicine, they suggest drinking aster infusions if your chosen one has cooled in love.
Aster is also an ornamental plant that makes amazing bouquets. In gardens, plants are usually planted in shades for a beautiful landscape. Rhizomes of asters grow very much, so they should be planted away from perennial plants. Asters look harmoniously next to peonies, roses, daisies and other flowers.
Recipe number 1. Infusion of asters, used for chronic bronchitis. Three teaspoons of aster leaves or flowers should be added to 250 ml of hot water, infused for one hour, then strain well. Reception scheme: one tablespoon four times a day.
Recipe number 2. Infusion of asters, used for skin dermatitis, furunculosis and other skin inflammations. Two tablespoons of dried aster herb are boiled in 500 ml of water for about 3 minutes, after which they are allowed to brew. The resulting product is used as a lotion that should be put on the inflamed skin during the day. Oral administration occurs before meals, 100 ml three times a day.
Recipe number 3. Aster decoction, used for dry cough. It is necessary to dilute three tablespoons of crushed aster root in 600 ml of boiling water, then let it simmer over low heat for about 15–20 minutes. It is taken in a dose of 150 ml three times a day.
Asters are one of the favorite flowers of both women and males, which is why they are so in demand. Distinguish between annual aster varieties and perennials, thanks to this characteristic, they have a huge variety of varieties and species. Annual asters are rich in a variety of their inflorescences. Valuable are perennial varieties that bloom in autumn, rich in colors and different heights of bushes.
Among perennial asters, there are varieties that grow exclusively on alpine hills and in rose gardens. There are also varieties of perennial asters that bloom in summer, but they are rarely used in floristic designs, since they are inferior in a riot of color to varieties blooming in autumn. Asters adorn the hearth for a long time due to the property of standing in vases for a long time.
Novobelgian aster belongs to the varieties of perennial asters that perfectly decorate the borders. It reaches a height of 30–150 cm, the width of the inflorescences is 2–3 cm. It begins to bloom in the fall and ends with persistent frosts. New Belgian asters have different varieties, differing in the height of the bush and the actual color: Ada Ballard (95 cm, lavender), Crimson Brocade (95 cm, red), Marie Ballard (90 cm, blue), Royal Velvet (60 cm, purple), "Winston Churchill" (70 cm, ruby) and many others.
Astra New England also belongs to perennial varieties, differs from the New Belgian in greater height and splendor of the bush. Known variety "Haringtons Pink" with pink flowers that bloom in autumn. The flower itself reaches 1.5 m in length.
In summer, the varieties of asters "Italian" (purple and pink tones of flowers), aster "Frikarta" (blue-violet shades of flowers) and "Astra Thomson" (white flowers) bloom. The flowering of these varieties begins in July-August, the plants are low, reaching 80 cm in length, the bushes are not particularly splendid, but the flowers themselves are quite large.
Alpine aster blooms in May-July, characterized by small leaves, but characteristic large flowers of lilac-lilac color and a yellow center, stem height - 30 cm. Varieties of alpine asters: "Gloria" (blue flowers), "Albus" (white) and Vargrave (pink). These varieties are planted mainly on rockeries, where they are very comfortable. Rarely in the gardens you can find Natalentian aster and Tibetan aster, with characteristic blue flowers and an abundance of flowering.
One-year aster varieties include "Chinese Callistephus". These are undersized and dwarf plants, double and simple, with a huge variety of shapes and colors. From the class of simple varieties of annual asters, "Super Chainensis" with a height of 60 cm is known, the varieties of high asters include "Princess Giant" (90 cm), "Perfection" (70-85 cm). "Milady Pinochet" is considered to be dwarf asters. Annual asters are also classified according to the shape of the flower: ostrich feather, chrysanthemum, pompon, spherical, simple.
When growing annual asters, the sowing rotation should be observed. It is impossible to grow asters in the same place where they were planted last year. Annual asters can be grown in seedlings. This will require boxes and seeds, which should be blown in late April - early May. A groove is made in the box, into which the seeds are sown, after which they are sprinkled with earth with a layer of 0.5 cm and watered with a weak solution of potassium permanganate. Next, the seedlings are covered with a film.
A few days later, shoots appear, from which you need to remove the film. After the appearance of the first leaves, it is necessary to make a pick, that is, to plant the plants from each other in separate places or at a distance of 7-10 cm. You can plant an aster in the ground already in May - on an area where direct sunlight falls, but where not water stagnates. It is recommended to add compost or humus to the soil as fertilizer. It is recommended to plant the plants at a distance from each other, with abundant watering.
A seedless way of growing asters requires spring soil and seeds. In well-warmed soil, grooves are made where seeds are sown, after which it is watered abundantly. When leaves appear, thinning is necessary: the seedlings that will be harvested should be planted at a distance of 5-7 cm from each other.
Perennial asters are very sun-loving, so the area for seating data should be well lit. These asters love loamy soil, rich in humus, nutrients and minerals, with neutral acidity. Impossible for the growth of an aster is the soil where water stagnates; the soil should be with good moisture permeability. Perennial asters need to be transplanted every 4–5 years due to the highly developed rhizome.
Perennial asters should be looked after by loosening the soil, removing weeds between rows, watering as needed (on especially dry days, as well as during the growing vegetation mass), fertilizing with complex dressings. It is best to propagate perennial asters by dividing the bush.
According to legend, asters are flowers that were once stars, that is, stars that fell from the sky. We can agree with this, because these flowers are beautiful, like heavenly creatures. Legend also says that, as they flourish, asters communicate with their little heavenly brothers. Alpine aster is no exception.
Alpine aster is a perennial plant, characterized by its particular unpretentiousness. When planting, it is important to comply with the condition of alkaline soil, the presence of calcium in the soil and the presence of a sunny color and a complete absence of shade. Differs in abundant flowering and characteristic high growth. Propagated mainly by dividing the bush or by sowing seeds in open ground. Used in mixboard design, on alpine slides, in gardens in the foreground.
Alpine aster is widely used in folk medicine. Its healing properties are known in the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, skin, bone and other diseases. This plant has an expectorant, antipyretic and tonic for the human body.
Recipe number 1: the use of aster infusion for skin diseases, diathesis, gastritis, tendon diseases and as an antipyretic agent for infections of various nature. Two tablespoons of the powder of all parts of the aster should be poured with 400 ml of hot water, let it brew for 30 minutes. in a water bath. After the infusion has cooled to room temperature, strain it through cheesecloth. It is recommended to take 100 ml four times a day.
Recipe number 2: the use of Alpine aster infusion for hemorrhoids, colds and proctitis. 8 g of rhizomes must be diluted in one glass of water, boil for 5 minutes, let it brew for 2 hours, then strain through a gauze bandage. It is recommended to take 1/2 cup three times a day.
Recipe number 3: the use of infusion for lotions for eye disease, for gargling with sore throat. One tablespoon of alpine aster herb should be diluted in one glass of water, boiled for 3-4 minutes, let it brew for one hour and strain. It is necessary to take the infusion one tablespoon three times a day, or make lotions on the affected skin.
Representatives of the blue aster include the following varieties: "Blue Moon", "Flower carpet" and "Apollonia". These varieties differ from each other in different shades of blue, flower size and bush height, as well as botanical types.
Aster "Blue Moon" refers to the pompom type. Its bushes are aligned, fluffy, abundantly covered with bluish-purple flowers. The flowers reach 10 cm in width, the height of the bush is up to 50-60 cm. This variety is grown by sowing to a depth of 0.5 cm in soil rich in peat, fertilized with humus, picking in the phase of two emerging leaves. Used "Blue Moon" for seating on balconies, gardens, stands, etc. It is recommended to plant this variety according to the scheme 20 * 20 cm. It blooms from July until frost.
There is a "Blue Moon" and a blue variety. The flowers of such an aster are blue-violet with white frames. The height of the bush reaches 50-60 cm, the inflorescences are round, double, with a diameter of 7-8 cm. The variety does not like sudden temperature changes and dry soil. It is mainly used for cutting.
Aster "Flower Carpet" has the appearance of many profusely blooming double flowers of blue color, reaching 7 cm in diameter. The bushes are low - up to 30 cm. The stems of the "Flower Carpet" are quite branched and very strong. Blooms from July to September. With proper care of the Flower Carpet aster, flowers will last for a long time, decorating balconies, borders and gardens. It is recommended to plant from March to April at a temperature of 15-16 ° C, lightly sprinkling the seeds with earth.
Aster "Apollonia" belongs to the chrysanthemum type with a lush, not growing bush up to 65 cm high. Apollonia inflorescences are densely double, rich in their light blue color, up to 12 cm in diameter. This variety grows well in sunny places where there are no drafts. Loves calcareous, fertile soil, but cannot stand fertilizer from fresh manure; does not like frequent watering. During the budding period, it requires mineral fertilizers. It blooms from July to September, beautifully decorating lawns.
Varieties of white asters are rich in their varieties, they belong to different groups of flowers, characterized by the shape of the inflorescences. Vivid representatives of the white aster species are the varieties "Antarctica", "White Sun", "White Swan", "Diana" and "White Tower".
Astra "Antarctica" is related to the dwarf and royal groups of asters. The bush is profusely branched, reaches 30–35 cm in width, with many peduncles. The flowers are characterized by a pure snowy color, reaching 10-12 cm in diameter. The variety loves well-lit areas for its development, calcareous, well-drained soil, protected from the winds. Blooms early and blooms before the first frost. Has a wide decorative use.
Astra "White Sun" belongs to the group of "princesses". The bush is especially branched, up to 35 cm wide. The flowers are spherical, slightly flattened, rich in an abundance of petals, pale white, up to 12 cm in diameter. Grows on neutral, calcareous soils, also protected from strong gusts of wind. Used primarily for slicing.
Astra "White Swan" got its name from a branching, blooming small flowers (up to 10 cm) bush of white color, which takes a swan shape. Refers to the peony group. Blooms from late June to November. Got used in decorating lawns and, mainly for cutting.
Aster "Diana" belongs to the chrysanthemum aster group. An amazingly decorative flower that forms up to 10 inflorescences in its bush. The flowers are large, with long, wide-open petals, horizontally to the ground and narrowed towards the sun. Thanks to this shape, the flowers reach 15 cm in diameter. The color is snow white. It grows in well-drained soil, protected from wind and direct sunlight. Ideal for cutting.
Aster "White Tower" belongs to the popular peony varieties. The bushes of this plant have a pyramidal shape, up to 70 cm high. The flowers are in the shape of a ball, with wide-open petals wrapped inside a receptacle. The color of the inflorescence is white-cream, the size is up to 10 cm. It blooms from August to September. The plant is unpretentious in growing, the main thing for him is to have the sun. Used for decorating curbs, lawns and for cutting.
No special contraindications have been found in the use of medicinal infusions and decoctions of different varieties of asters. They cannot be used only with a special, previously identified hypersensitivity to this plant. It is not recommended for allergy sufferers suffering from hay fever if sensitivity to aster blooms is detected in the allergic panel.
The author of the article: Sokolova Nina Vladimirovna | Phytotherapist
Education: Diploma in "General Medicine" and "Therapy" received at the Pirogov University (2005 and 2006). Advanced training at the Department of Phytotherapy at the Peoples' Friendship University of Moscow (2008).