Plant ID

(Question)

Can you tell me what this plant is? It grows every year in the same spot in my garden of heavy clay. The flower is “clover like”. Please see picture below. I inherited the garden but I think this one was not planted. Is it a “native” species or just a weed?

 

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Master Gardeners. You plant is neither a weed nor a native plant.  This rare and unusual plant is an astrantia-major or what is commonly known as a masterwort. They have their origins in the Balkans. Astrantia-majors are an excellent source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. The flowers on the masterwort are a group of tightly packed florets that are backed by petal-like bracts which makes them look like a star or a firework. They are in the same family as carrots. These plants do well in part shade to full shade. They grow best in moist soil with organic material and need to be watered frequently during dry spells.  For more information on this perennial please see the following websites:

http://www.finegardening.com/masterwort-astrantia-major

https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/search-results?form-mode=false&query=Astrantia%20major%20

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/astrantia/astrantia-masterwort-plant.htm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/4793769/In-focus-Astrantia.html