Edelweiss
Overview
 
Edelweiss , Leontopodium alpinum, is a well-known Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an mountain flower
Alpine plant
Alpine plants are plants that grow in the alpine climate, which occurs at high elevation and above the tree line. Alpine plants grow together as a plant community in alpine tundra.-Alpine plant diversity:...

, belonging to the sunflower family
Asteraceae
The Asteraceae or Compositae , is an exceedingly large and widespread family of vascular plants. The group has more than 22,750 currently accepted species, spread across 1620 genera and 12 subfamilies...

.
The common name comes from German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 edel, meaning "noble", and weiß (also spelled weiss) "white", thus signifying "noble whiteness".

The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation
Latinisation (literature)
Latinisation is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly met with for historical personal names, with toponyms, or for the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than Romanisation, which is the writing of a word in the Latin alphabet...

 of Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 leontopódion (λεοντοπόδιον) "lion's
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

 paw", from léōn "lion" and pódion "foot" (diminutive of poús, podós
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

"foot").

The Romanian name, floarea reginei, means "Queen's flower".
Encyclopedia
Edelweiss , Leontopodium alpinum, is a well-known Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an mountain flower
Alpine plant
Alpine plants are plants that grow in the alpine climate, which occurs at high elevation and above the tree line. Alpine plants grow together as a plant community in alpine tundra.-Alpine plant diversity:...

, belonging to the sunflower family
Asteraceae
The Asteraceae or Compositae , is an exceedingly large and widespread family of vascular plants. The group has more than 22,750 currently accepted species, spread across 1620 genera and 12 subfamilies...

.

Names

The common name comes from German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 edel, meaning "noble", and weiß (also spelled weiss) "white", thus signifying "noble whiteness".

The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation
Latinisation (literature)
Latinisation is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly met with for historical personal names, with toponyms, or for the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than Romanisation, which is the writing of a word in the Latin alphabet...

 of Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 leontopódion (λεοντοπόδιον) "lion's
Lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

 paw", from léōn "lion" and pódion "foot" (diminutive of poús, podós
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

"foot").

The Romanian name, floarea reginei, means "Queen's flower". Also, another common name is floare de colţ which means "the corner's flower".

The Persian name is gol-e-yax, which translates as "ice flower"

Description

Leaves and flowers are covered with white hairs and appear woolly (tomentose
Tomentose
Tomentose is a term used to describe plant hairs that are flattened and matted, forming a woolly coating known as tomentum. Often the hairs are silver or gray-colored...

). Flowering stalks of Edelweiss can grow to a size of 3–20 cm
Centimetre
A centimetre is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one hundredth of a metre, which is the SI base unit of length. Centi is the SI prefix for a factor of . Hence a centimetre can be written as or — meaning or respectively...

 (in cultivation, up to 40 cm). Each bloom consisting of five to six small yellow flower heads (5 mm
Millimetre
The millimetre is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one thousandth of a metre, which is the SI base unit of length....

) surrounded by bract
Bract
In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower, inflorescence axis, or cone scale. Bracts are often different from foliage leaves. They may be smaller, larger, or of a different color, shape, or texture...

s in star formation. The flowers are in bloom between July and September.

Range

The plant is unequally distributed and prefers rocky limestone places at 2000–2900 m altitude. It is not toxic, and has been used traditionally in folk medicine as a remedy against abdominal and respiratory diseases. The dense hair appears to be an adaptation to high altitudes, protecting the plant from cold, aridity and ultraviolet
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

 radiation.

Since it usually grows in inaccessible places, it is associated in many countries of the alpine region with mountaineering.

Protection

Edelweiss is a protected plant in many countries, including Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 (since 1878), France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (Zanskar
Zanskar
Zanskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum...

 region), Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Malaysia (In Genting and Cameron Highlands), Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 (In Semeru Mountain), Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 (Ordesa National Park), Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 (Tatra National Park), Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

 (in Gorizia and Gradisca
Gorizia and Gradisca
The County of Gorizia and Gradisca was a Habsburg county in Central Europe, in what is now a multilingual border area of Italy and Slovenia. It was named for its two major urban centers, Gorizia and Gradisca d'Isonzo.-Province of the Habsburg Empire:...

 since 1896, in Carniola
Carniola
Carniola was a historical region that comprised parts of what is now Slovenia. As part of Austria-Hungary, the region was a crown land officially known as the Duchy of Carniola until 1918. In 1849, the region was subdivided into Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and Inner Carniola...

 since 1898), Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 (since 1886) and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 (since 1933).

Cultivation

Leontopodium alpinum is grown in gardens for its interesting inflorescence and silver foliage. The plants are short lived and can be grown from seed.

Symbolic uses

  • On the Austrian euro coins
    Austrian euro coins
    Austrian euro coins have a unique design for each denomination, with a common theme for each of the three series of coins. The minor coins feature Austrian flowers, the middle coins examples of architecture from Austria's capital, Vienna, and the two major coins famous Austrians...

    , a picture of Edelweiss is used on the two-euro-cent coins.
  • It is the symbol of the Bulgarian Tourist Union
  • It is also the symbol of the Swiss national tourism organisation
  • On the Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    n 50 Lei
    Romanian leu
    The leu is the currency of Romania. It is subdivided into 100 bani . The name of the currency means "lion". On 1 July 2005, Romania underwent a currency reform, switching from the previous leu to a new leu . 1 RON is equal to 10,000 ROL...

     banknote.
  • In Austria, Edelweiß is also a brand of beer
    Beer
    Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

     named after the flower.
  • Edelweiss is the unofficial national flower of Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

    .
  • The Edelweiss is used in the logotypes of several alpine club
    Alpine Club
    The first Alpine Club, founded in London in 1857, was once described as:Today, Alpine clubs stage climbing competitions, operate alpine huts and paths, and are active in protecting the Alpine environment...

    s such as the Deutscher Alpenverein (German Alpine Club
    German Alpine Club
    The German Alpine Club or DAV is the largest climbing association in the world and the eighth largest sports union in Germany. It is organised into 354 legally independent branches with a total of around 815,000 members...

    ) or the Österreichischer Alpenverein
    Österreichischer Alpenverein
    The Austrian Alpine Club has 377,000 members in 197 branches and is the largest mountaineering club in Austria. It is responsible for the upkeep of over 242 alpine huts in Austria and neighbouring countries...

     (Austrian Alpine Club). The Edelweiss is also used in the logotype of the Union of International Mountain Leader Associations
    Union of International Mountain Leader Associations
    The Union of International Mountain Leader Associations was founded in November 2004. It was decided at the meeting that all IMLs would be awarded the same carnet and badge giving an internationally recognised identity...

     (UIMLA).
  • Edelweiss Air
    Edelweiss Air
    Edelweiss Air AG is a charter airline with its head office in the Edwelweiss Air Operations Center on the property of Zurich Airport and in Kloten, Switzerland, operating mainly out of Zurich Airport, with a smaller base at Geneva International Airport...

    , an international airline based in Switzerland, is named after the flower, which also appears in its logo.
  • The song
    Song
    In music, a song is a composition for voice or voices, performed by singing.A song may be accompanied by musical instruments, or it may be unaccompanied, as in the case of a cappella songs...

     "Edelweiss
    Edelweiss (song)
    "Edelweiss" is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. It is named after the edelweiss, a white flower found high in the Alps...

    ", which is about the flower
    Flower
    A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

    , is from Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1959 musical
    Musical film
    The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate...

     The Sound of Music
    The Sound of Music
    The Sound of Music is a musical by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers...

    , which takes place in Salzburg
    Salzburg
    -Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

    , Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

     before World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    .
  • "Bring me Edelweiss" is the best-known song of the music group Edelweiss
    Edelweiss (band)
    Edelweiss was an Austrian electronica/dance band consisting of remixers Martin Gletschermayer, Matthias Schweger and Walter Werzowa. The group is best known for their 1988 worldwide hit "Bring Me Edelweiss", and their European hit "Starship Edelweiss"....

    .
  • The Edelweiss was established 1907 as the sign of the Austrian-Hungarian alpine troops by Emperor Franz Joseph I. These original 3 Regiments wore their edelweiss on the collar of their uniform. During World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

     (1915) the Edelweiss was granted to the German alpine troops, for their bravery. Today it is still the insignia of the Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

    n, Polish
    Podhale rifles
    Podhale Rifles is the traditional name of the mountain infantry units of the Polish Army. Formed in 1918 out of volunteers of the region of Podhale, in 1919 the smaller detachments of Podhale Rifles were pressed into two mountain infantry divisions, the 21st Mountain Infantry and 22nd Mountain...

    , and German
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     alpine troops.
  • Edelweiss was a badge
    Badge
    A badge is a device or fashion accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath , a sign of legitimate employment or student status, or as a simple...

     of Edelweiss Pirates
    Edelweiss Pirates
    The Edelweiss Pirates were a loose group of youth culture in Nazi Germany. They emerged in western Germany out of the German Youth Movement of the late 1930s in response to the strict regimentation of the Hitler Youth...

     (Edelweisspiraten)—the anti-Nazi youth groups in Third Reich. It was worn on the clothes (e.g. a blouse or a suit).
  • The Edelweiss flower was the symbol of Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger
    Gebirgsjäger
    Gebirgsjäger, in English Mountain Riflemen, is the German designation for mountain infantry. The word Jäger is the traditional German term for rifleman...

    , or mountain rangers, worn as a metal pin on the left side of the mountain cap, on the band of the service dress cap, and as a patch on the right sleeve. It is still the symbol of the Mountain division in the German army today.
  • The World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     Luftwaffe unit, Kampfgeschwader 51
    Kampfgeschwader 51
    Kampfgeschwader 51 "Edelweiss" was a Luftwaffe bomber unit during World War II. The unit began forming in December 1939. The unit operated the Dornier Do 17, Heinkel He 111 and Junkers Ju 88 light and medium bombers...

     (51st Bomber Wing) was known as the Edelweiss Wing.
  • The rank insignia of Swiss generals
    General (Switzerland)
    The General is an office and rank in the armed forces of Switzerland. It is held by the commander-in-chief of the Army in time of war only. Under the Swiss Constitution, he must be elected by the Federal Assembly, assembled as the United Federal Assembly, specifically for the purpose of taking...

     use eight-pointed stars representing the flower. A Korpskommandant for example (equivalent to a Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

     in other countries) wears three Edelweiss stars on his collar.
  • Polish professional ice hockey team MMKS Podhale Nowy Targ
    Podhale Nowy Targ
    Podhale Nowy Targ is a Polish ice hockey club based in Nowy Targ, Poland.- Home ice :*Name: Miejska Hala Lodowa w Nowym Targu*Address: ul...

     use an Edelweiss as their emblem.
  • The Edelweiss is represented as the favorite flower of Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

    , in the 1934 recording "Adolf Hitlers Lieblingsblume ist das schlichte Edelweiß", sung by Harry Steier.
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