Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Bigleaf Aster
Aster macrophyllus
Compositae

Plants can be used as a ground cover in light shade, forming a spreading clump[208, 233].

  • Medicinal Use

    The roots have been used as a blood medicine[257]. An infusion of the root has been used to bathe the head to treat headaches[257].

    A compound decoction of the roots has been used as a laxative in the treatment of venereal disease[257].

  • Edible Use

    Very young leaves – cooked and used as a vegetable[46, 61, 105, 161, 177]. The leaves are said to act as a medicine as well as a food, though no details are given[257]. Only young leaves are eaten as old leaves quickly become tough[213].

    Roots – cooked. They have been used in soups[257].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – surface sow in spring in a cold frame. Do not allow the compost to become dry. Pre-chilling the seed for two weeks can improve germination rates[134]. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks at 20¡c[134]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn[200]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whist smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Succeeds in most good garden soils[1], preferring one that is well-drained and moisture retentive[200]. Prefers a sunny position[200]. Succeeds in dry soils in the shade[200]. Grows well in light woodland shade[88], succeeding amongst the roots of other plants[233]. Plants are hardy to about -25¡c[187]. The plant has an invasive root system and can spread freely when well sited[233]. Slugs are fond of this plant and have destroyed even quite large clumps by eating out all the new growth in spring[K]. Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. A very variable plant with many different forms[187], it hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200].
Eastern N. America. Occasionally naturalized in Britain[17].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.