Leontopodium nivale, commonly called edelweiss, is a well-known mountain flower, belonging to the Asteraceae (daisy or sunflower family). The plant prefers rocky limestone places at about 1,800–3,000 metres altitude. It is non-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.
As a scarce, short-lived flower found in remote mountain areas, the plant has been used as a symbol for alpinism, for rugged beauty and purity associated with the Alps and Carpathians, and as a national symbol, especially of Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, and Switzerland. According to folk tradition, giving this flower to a loved one is a promise of dedication.
This post is part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme.