- The edelweiss’s scientific name is Leontopodium alpinum.
- It can be found at high altitudes in the mountains of Europe, Asia and South America. The original home of the edelweiss is in the high plateau of the Himalayas and Siberia, but the plant “migrated” to Europe during the Quaternary ice ages.
- The edelweiss is a perennial, which means it will flower year after year but must reseed itself. Continuous picking of the flowers from the same plant will cause it to die off. In other words, look, but don’t touch!
- The edelweiss is about 6 inches tall with 5-15 woolly-white velvety floral leaves and 500 to a thousand tiny florets grouped in several yellow disk-like heads (between 2 and 10 of them) surrounded by silvery, greenisy, kinda seafoamy colored bracts. (A bract is a typically small modified leaf or scale).
- The edelweiss is fertilized by flies.
- Despite its inconspicuous appearance it is esteemed (chiefly by the Swiss) as a symbol of purity and inaccessibility.
- In Switzerland the edelweiss is protected by law.
- During WWI and WWII Alpine soldiers carried a sprig of edelweiss to remind them of home. It was traditionally given to them by a female friend, or sister.
- The movie, The Sound of Music, almost caused the flower to become extinct because so many tourists were picking them. But It can no longer be regarded as an endangered species.
- At the 2015, Lady Gaga sang a melody of songs from The Sound of Music, including the iconic song, Edelweiss and killed it! (She didn’t kill the flower, she killed the performance… you know what I mean)
- Towards the end of the Second World War, the Edelweiss became the symbol of the German resistance against Nazism. The “Edelweiss pirates” were groups of young workers who had turned against Nazism and were active as a kind of urban guerrillas against the regime.
- The edelweiss isn’t really the prettiest flower in the world… It’s probably one of the farthest from pretty! But that is why we love it. Because it has more charm, history and meaning behind it than out right beauty. (and it looks great illustrated! Or as a Clip!
Sources: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/the-edelweiss—switzerland-s-national-flower-/30300682 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/178969/edelweiss http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/edelweiss.aspx
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