Herbs & Plants


Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum)
Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) (Photo credit: Franco Folini)

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Botanical Name : Leontopodium alpinum
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Gnaphalieae
Genus: Leontopodium
Species: L. alpinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :The common name comes from German edel, meaning “noble”, and weiß (also spelled weiss) “white”, thus signifying “noble whiteness”.

The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation of Greek leontopódion    “lion’s paw”, from lé?n “lion” and pódion “foot” (diminutive of poús, podós “foot”).

The Romanian name, floarea reginei, means “Queen’s flower”. Also, another common name is floare de col? which means “the corner’s flower”.

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

Habitat :Edelweiss is a favourite wildflower of the Swiss Alps, best suited to growing in a well-drained rock garden, scree or alpine trough.

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 radiation.

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

Plants form a low clump of silvery grey foliage, bearing odd clusters of woolly white flowers in early summer. These can be cut, or even dried. Short-lived in gardens, these will sometimes self seed when happy. Best in regions with cool summers. Drought-tolerant once established.


Leaves and flowers are covered with white hairs and appear woolly (tomentose). Flowering stalks of Edelweiss can grow to a size of 3–20 cm (in cultivation, up to 40 cm). Each bloom consisting of five to six small yellow flower heads (5 mm) surrounded by bracts in star formation. The flowers are in bloom between July and September……..CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

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

Medicinal Uses:
It is not toxic, but has been used traditionally in folk medicine as a remedy against abdominal and respiratory diseases. Extracts and individual constituents of Leontopodium alpinum  were tested for their antimicrobial activity in two different assays. Extracts were screened in agar diffusion assays, whereas the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of single compounds were determined by the microbroth dilution method according to NCCLS criteria. Significant antimicrobial activities were found against various strains of Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes strains. These results support the ethnomedicinal use of Leontopodium alpinum for the treatment of respiratory and abdominal disorders.

Symbolic uses:
*On the Austrian euro coins, 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 Romanian 50 Lei banknote.

*Edelweiss Society

*In Austria, Edelweiß is also a brand of beer named after the flower.

*Edelweiss is the unofficial national flower of Switzerland.

*The Edelweiss is used in the logotypes of several alpine clubs such as the Deutscher Alpenverein (German Alpine Club) or the
*Österreichischer Alpenverein (Austrian Alpine Club). The Edelweiss is also used in the logotype of the Union of International
*Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA).

*Edelweiss Air, an international airline based in Switzerland, is named after the flower, which also appears in its logo.

*The song “Edelweiss”, which is about the flower, is from Rodgers and Hammerstein‘s 1959 musical The Sound of Music, which takes place in Salzburg, Austria during World War II.

*”Bring me Edelweiss” is the best-known song of the music group 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 (1915) the Edelweiss was granted to the
*German alpine troops, for their bravery. Today it is still the insignia of the Austrian, Polish, and German alpine troops.
Edelweiss was a badge of Edelweiss Pirates (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, 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 Luftwaffe unit, Kampfgeschwader 51 (51st Bomber Wing) was known as the Edelweiss Wing.

*The rank insignia of Swiss generals use eight-pointed stars representing the flower. A Korpskommandant for example (equivalent to a Lieutenant General in other countries) wears three Edelweiss stars on his collar.

*Polish professional ice hockey team MMKS Podhale Nowy Targ use an Edelweiss as their emblem.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



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