Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family) - There are 23,000 currently accepted species, spread across 1,620 genera, and 12 subfamilies. Some of flowers included are several types of daisies, sunflowers, asters, marigolds, dandelions, cone flowers, zinnias, dahlias, chrysanthemums, etc. It is the 2nd largest species of flowering plant after the Orcidaceae. However, the Aster genus of the family consists of a much smaller number. In the 1990s, a decision was made to move the North American species into its own genera, thus dividing the original 600 species to a lesser number of 180. True asters (despite many flowers in North America names may convey) are only found in Eurasia.
Origins of name:
Greek - derives from ἀστήρ meaning "star" due to it’s shape.
Old English - derives from dægesege, from dæges eage meaning "day’s eye," due to the petals open at dawn and close at dusk.
- With such a large family of flowers, the meaning of each flower has a slightly different meaning depending on the region. However the general meaning of the aster/shion flower holds the meaning on a fondness, love, and holding a thought/person dear.
- In Japan asters stands for "remembrance" and "memory." In Western tradition the aster is thought to signify a "symbol of love, daintiness, talisman of love, and trusting." The China aster is seen as holding a similar meaning as the Japanese meaning, "love of variety and fidelity" as well as conveying the meaning of "I will think of you."
- The daisy (which can be interchangeable with the word aster in many cases) are often express a devoid of any sin and guilt perfectly symbolizing"innocence, loyal love, purity, faith, cheer, simplicity" Daisy were often used while confessing undying love and affection.
- On occasion the meaning of the type of daisy can be a little less kind in it meaning. The Michaelmas daisy represents "afterthought." Also noting that in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” the daisy is used as meaning "dissembling."
- Asters are the birth flower for September. Karan must have truly loved flowers, and thought of it often while searching for a name for her baby. In fact, had Shion been born in August or October he may have been named something completely different. (I have a suspicion that Asano Atsuko must love flowers as much as Karan)
- Ancient people believed that the odor of the leaves of the aster when burnt, drove away serpents. An interesting thing to note is that Shion received a snake-like scar from the bee. So, why wouldn’t Nezumi find it alluring? In the West Block Shion changes from what is seen as a naive “innocent flower” into somewhat of a marred or tainted “dissembled flower” much in similarity to that of Halmet’s change in personality throughout the play. Asano-san uses several allusions or references to Shakespeare’s plays throughout her novels so why not add another?
- Asters colors means afterthought or a wish that things were different - except in china where The color signifies fidelity. Asters were laid on the graves of French soldiers to symbolize the wish the things had turned out differently. My heart breaks thinking that Shion mayplace shion flowers on Safu’s grave as both a way of saying “I will not forget you” and “I wish things would have turned out different.” It’s not canon, but it hurts.
- In Japan, Aster tataricus is known as shion, or 紫苑. In regards to the mention that Shion is named after a flower, the flower that he was named after is this flower. When translated, the name holds the meaning of "I won’t forget you." It is interesting to noted the neither Shion nor Nezumi were able to forget each other after there meeting on Shion’s 12th birthday. What is also notable is that Shion often reminiscences about Nezumi and Safu in a “I will not forget you” way in the 10th novel “Beyond.”
The Aster Epigrams
(translation Percy Bysshe Shelley)
These two epigrams (from Book VII of the Greek Anthology) express
Plato’s mourning and love for his recently deceased young friend.
They were translated by the English poet Shelley, but the first
epigram was left out of the standard collection of his works,
while the second was included but with the boy’s name feminized
to “Stella” by the editors. Both play on the the boy's name,
which in Greek means ’star’.
To Aster I
Sweet Child, thou star of love and beauty bright,
Alone thou lookest on the midnight skies;
Oh! That my spirit were yon Heaven of light
To gaze upon thee with a thousand eyes.
To Aster II
Thou wert the morning star among the living,
Ere thy fair light had fled; –
Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving
New splendour to the dead.