Leontopodium alpinum seeds - Edelweiss
Leontopodium alpinum Samen - Edelweiß
Leontopodium alpinum belongs to the family of the Asteraceae, the daisy family. The plant is
better known under the name Edelweiss.
L. alpinum is an herbaceous plant that reaches a height of 20 cm.
The leaves are strongly pubescent especially at the bottom side. The function of those hairs
remains largely unknown. One suggests that it could be a protection against too much
transpiration or that it plays a role in pollinator attraction. The leaves are lanceolate and get 5
cm long. The leaves at the ground build a rosette.
What we see as the flower of the Edelweiss pretends just to be a flower. What seems to be a
petal is a bract. Those bracts stand around the actually flowers and attract pollinators. The
small yellow flowers are clustered in spikelet- florets. The bracts and the spikelet- florets
together look like a star. The Edelweiss blooms from July to September, using the whole
summer to get pollinated. L. alpinum is pollinated by flies, bees, butterflies and beetles. The
main part is pollinated by flies. The flies get attracted by the special smell of the Edelweiss.
The flower contains essential oils and substances that we know from the sweat of men. The
dried flower can be stored for a long time.
The fruit is like we know from the family of the Asteraceae an achene. It is distributed by the
wind and can also get stuck to animals. So the Edelweiss has two possibilities to distribute its
The Edelweiss is in Austria, Germany and Switzerland often used as a symbol. Many alpine
clubs use the Edelweiss as a symbol in their emblems. In Switzerland the Edelweiss is at the
back side of the Swiss franc. It is also the emblem of the Alps and is stitched on many
traditionally costumes. The Edelweiss is today under protection. The populations of the
Edelweiss were getting smaller because many tourists liked to take in home for memory or for
In former days the Edelweiss was used as a medicine against stomach ache. Due to that the
Edelweiss is also known as “Bauchwehblümchen” meaning “stomach ache flower”.
The seeds of the Edelweiss have to be stratified before planting. Therefore they should be put
into the fridge for 10 days at a temperature of about 0° to 3°C. As a substrate one should use
coarsely sand (one- third) and soil (two- third). The substrate should not be rich in nutrients.
The fine seeds of L.alpinum should not be covered with substrate but only sprinkled onto it. At a temperature
from about 15°C and constantly moist substrate germination occurs after 2 to 3 weeks. The
seedlings can be planted together in small groups.