Edelweiss (Asteraceae) is a genus of flowering plants native to Europe and Asia. These are mainly annuals, but some perennials are included in the family. They have white or pink flowers with five petals each and red berries. Some species produce small edible fruits which contain bitter substances called pectins. Other species flower only once during their life cycle, while others bloom continuously throughout their lives. Edelweiss is one of the most popular garden herbs.
The name ‘edelweiss’ comes from the German word ‘deutsche’, meaning English, and ‘wissenschaft’, meaning science. The Latin name for this plant is Asteraceae, which means ‘asteroid’. Edelweiss belongs to the aster family of plants.
There are over 200 different species in this group, all belonging to the Asteraceae family.
Edelweiss is a member of the mint family. Mints are often used medicinally, especially in treating coughs and colds. The leaves of this plant are also used to make tea.
The common names for this herb include ‘white lady’s slipper’, ‘old maid’s slippers’, ‘hay berry’ and ‘bitter gourd’. The edelweiss plant is native to the mountains of Central Europe. It grows at high altitudes and can be found from France to Pakistan. Edelweiss is a popular garden herb. It is a perennial plant with white five-petalled flowers that bloom in summer. Edelweiss grows about ten to fifteen inches in height. The flowers last for about a month. The edelweiss flowers from June through August, and sometimes even in September. Edelweiss likes dry, rocky places and is rarely found in grassy areas. It grows at a rate of about an inch per year and can live for about five to ten years.
The plant prefers rocky soil, growing on ledges and crevices in the mountains. Edelweiss grows best in a completely shaded area. During the day, the edelweiss closes its flowers to conserve water.
This is also true when the plants are under extreme cold conditions.
In order to grow the edelweiss plant, you should place it in a quiet, dry location that is free of strong sunlight. The plant should be kept in containers with good drainage. Edelweiss should not be over-watered, nor should the soil be allowed to dry out completely.
The soil should retain a balance of moisture.
Sources & references used in this article:
Optical structure and function of the white filamentary hair covering the edelweiss bracts by JP Vigneron, M Rassart, Z Vértesy, K Kertész… – Physical review E, 2005 – APS
MOLECULAR PHYLOGENY OF THE EDELWEISS (LEONTOPODIUM, ASTERACEAE – GNAPHALIEAE) by C Blöch, WB Dickoré, R Samuel… – Edinburgh Journal of …, 2010 – cambridge.org
Leontopodium alpinum Cass. (Edelweiss): In Vitro Culture, Micropropagation, and the Production of Secondary Metabolites by ILI HooK – Medicinal and Aromatic Plants IV, 1993 – Springer
A review of Edelweiss by AC Dweck – SOFW JOURNAL, 2004 – swissnature.eu