Astrantia falls into the Umbelliferae or parsley family with many famous herbs such as fennel and Queen Anne's lace that share flowers born on specific open structures known as umbels. The genus was named for the star like appearance of the white flowers. Only one species is cultivated to any extent, a native perennial wildflower of Europe. It is most specifically found in Switzerland and Austria at edges of woodlands and in alpine meadows. It reached England in 1597 and soon became a common cottage garden flower known as Hattie's pin-cushion or Melancholy Gentleman. This is a new richer colored cultivar developed for the cut flower industry.
Masterwort is a medicinal plant dating back to the middle ages when it was recommended for "the bite of a rabid dog". Though not a contemporary remedy, it's camphor-like oil led to its suggested uses for a half dozen different ailments.