The aster flower genus – which is a member of the asteraceae family – once carried over 600 species of blooms; however, after much research the genus was divided, and there are now only 180 species that reside in this genus. All the same, the aster flower remains a remarkably varied and flamboyant bloom, regardless of the species. Some of the more common types include Italian aster, which tends toward a light, almost pastel, purple; the Jenny aster, which comes in vivid reds, and the sky blue aster, which, as its name suggests, is a stunning shade of bright blue.
The name of the aster flower is culled from the ancient Greek word for “star.” This is largely due to the shape of the flower’s head; however, it is also because they grow in a spotted abundance and have an appearance similar to that of the stars in the sky. In mythology, asters were said to have grown from the tears of the goddess Asterea while she wept for the lack of stars on earth. Historically, aster flowers have had many uses. One of the best known is their use as a symbol when placed upon the graves of French soldiers; these flowers were meant to represent a reversal of the outcome of their battles. In ancient times these flowers were smoked, as it was thought that the smokey perfume would ward off wicked serpents. Asters may also be used for their strong medicinal properties. Some varieties of this flower are said to help with migraines, general headaches and colds, while others can aid in treating the pain of sciatica and muscle spasms.
In addition to having a wide array of colors to choose from, the aster flower also has a good deal of meaning to go alongside its good looks. In general, the aster is considered a symbol of patience, daintiness, and a love of variety. Others state that this flower is an emblem for refinement and elegance. As a gift, asters placed in a bouquet with complementing flowers can be representative of love and admiration. They are often given to those born in September, or those celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary. As a more unique gift, you might present a single fresh or dried flower to a lover or friend as a love charm, as asters were thought by some ancient Greeks to hold the mystic power of drawing forth affection.