Though not one of the most common flowers you might see growing in a garden, the edelweiss flower (Leontopodium nivale) is nonetheless a lovely, unique bloom that is worth giving to a loved one.
The edelweiss flower is most revered in regions like Germany, Switzerland, and Austria – but it doesn’t matter how far you travel or where you look. This beautiful flower, despite its short life span, has inspired flower lovers all over the world to view this flower with great esteem.
If you’re curious about the meaning/symbolism behind the edelweiss flower, don’t worry – we will tell you everything you need to know.
What Does Edelweiss Mean?
The edelweiss flower is a German mountain flower that goes by the scientific name of Leontopodium alpinum. It grows at heights of 1,500 to 3,000 meters, so it’s not commonly found in most areas of the world. It’s also part of the sunflower and daisy families.
Here are some interesting facts about edelweiss flowers!
The edelweiss, also known as the wool flower, is a German mountain flower that goes by the scientific name of Leontopodium alpinum. Edelweiss flowers grow at heights of 1,500 to 3,000 meters, so it’s not commonly found in most areas of the world. It’s also part of the sunflower and daisy families. They are native to the Carpathian and Pyrenees Mountains. In fact, the Austro Hungarian army is credited with the discovery of this plant in the Asteraceae family, and it was an Austrian emperor that bestowed the name edelweiss to the plant. It also sometimes referred to as “lion foot” or “lion’s paw.”
Today, the plant is born on military insignia with its double star formation and is the national symbol as well. You will see this flower showcased on many insignias and businesses in Austria, including many an Austrian brewery!
This lovely little white flower has green foliage and multi-petaled flowers with fuzzy petals. Edelweiss bloom early in the spring, before other multi-petaled flowers, and produce thick or fuzzy petals with a rugged beauty. They are common in alpine meadows and are a white flower with bright yellow centers.
They look somewhat similar to other plants in the daisy family and sunflower family, making them a great choice for floral design. It goes well with other plants in this larger family, with its color white giving a unique touch to any display. It spreads about 16 inches wide and the flowers have a double star formation.
What is the Etymological Meaning/Symbolism of Edelweiss Flowers?
Edelweiss flowers usually symbolize true love and devotion. Why, you might ask, is the edelweiss known for how it symbolizes love?
For starters, the flower has a short life. It is grown in the most remote, rockiest areas of the European Alps. It is difficult to find, so when young men harvested the flowers for their loved ones, it was a true testament to their devotion. A young man who harvested this gorgeous plant with white hairs and bright flowers was able to show his romantic love for his partner.
It can also be used to symbolize patriotism, adventure, and sacrifice, too.
The white petals of these flowers has just as much symbolic meaning as the entire flower. It is found only in white, and the German translation of the word “edelweiss” quite literally means noble and white. It is a great symbol of true love and adoration, from ancient times until now. It symbolizes love in all of its forms. It is even a theme song in “The Sound of Music.”
This plant in the Asteraceae family is a centerpiece in traditional folk medicine. It has been used in countless traditional herbal formulas as well as in the cosmetics industry, as it is soothing to human skin. It has anti UV properties (it’s resistant to ultraviolet radiation) and has been used in various forms, throughout the years, to treat ailments like heart disease, stomach pain and abdominal pain (it’s been used for many abdominal disorders), and other uses.
Because it usually grows in July, August, and September, it is often viewed as a birth flower for these months, too.
What is the Cultural Significance of an Edelweiss Flower?
There are many medicinal uses for which this birth flower is prized. For starters, it is used to reduce the impacts of aging. It can also diminish the effects of allergic reactions.
The edelweiss flower is so beloved that in many areas, there are legal limitations that prohibit people from picking the flower. It is usually left to grow wild. It is often viewed as a token of love and is the name of a popular brewery in Austria. It was used in the “Sound of Music” and is deeply valued by people in this region.
What is the Symbolism of an Edelweiss Tattoo?
The edelweiss flower has multiple meanings and extensive symbolic use when chosen as a tattoo. It can be used to represent a marriage or the love that a mother has for her daughter. It is a cherished symbol when used in any form, whether that’s in a garden or as a tattoo.
When Should You Give Someone an Edelweiss Flower?
Like other short flowering plants, the edelweiss flower is appropriate on many occasions, but you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any restrictions in place before you pick one! The flower can symbolize honorable qualities such as nobility and passion. Its medicinal properties make it a wonderful flower for treating various ailments, too.
While you may feel tempted to pick edelweiss if and when you are lucky enough to stumble upon it, this plant’s rarity is well known. It grows only in alpine terrain at high altitudes, so it can only be found at the highest peaks. If you’re lucky enough to find edelweiss, be mindful of how hard it will be for the plant to regenerate.
Instead, why not add this plant to your own gardening space by planting a few of your own seeds instead? Edelweiss flowers are breathtaking to behold – but they’re delicate. Tread carefully and enjoy the beauty of this plant symbolizing eternal love for years to come.
Fun fact: Did you know that the Edelweiss flower is Switzerland’s national flower?
Check our blog for more symbolic meaning of flowers.
*Photo by PantherMediaSeller/depositphotos