Leontopodium (Edelweiss)

Leontopodium is a genus of about 40 species of perennials in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe and Asia. These plants can be found in many challenging environments, usually growing in limestone soil on mountain meadows at altitudes between 1500 and 3000 m.
The true flowers are short lived, yellow and tiny, surrounded by white petals that form a star-like formation. They bloom from late spring to early autumn and are easy to care for.

Name meaning

The genus name “Leontopodium” comes from the Greek words “leon” (lion) and “podion” (diminutive of pous, foot), meaning “lions paw”. It refers to the shape and woolly aspect of the flower.

Edelweiss means “noble white” in German (“edel” means “noble” and “weiss” means “white”).

Leontopodium symbolism

Leontopodium signifies deep love, purity, loyalty and notoriety.

It is also a symbol of Alpinism or mountaineering on the Alps.

Interesting facts about Leontopodium

Edelweiss (Leontopodium nivale)

Leontopodium nivale, commonly knows as Edelweiss, is a mountain flower that grows in rocky limestone places at high altitude, such as the Swiss Alps.

You have maybe heard about the Edelweiss flower, but what about the song called “Edelweiss”?
Edelweiss is a song made by the Rodgers and Hammerstein. It was written in 1959 for the musical called “The Sound of Music”. And contrary to popular belief, “Edelweiss” is not the Austrian folk song or German song. It is strictly American.

Leontopodium nivale ssp. alpinum is an endangered subspecies. It is a protected plant in many European countries including Switzerland, Austria and Croatia.

It is the symbol of the Alps and unofficial national flower of Switzerland.

Banefits and Uses

This plant has many medical benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Leontopodium is used as a natural remedy against tonsillitis, pharyngitis, ear infections and bronchitis.

Leontopodium Plant Data