The edelweiss isn’t your ordinary, everyday collection of flowers. For starters, these don’t grow around any normal garden! You may have heard of this name from the musical The Sound of Musical! Its beauty is so rare that you can only find edelweiss flowers grow on high mountains and its dangerous slopes during a mountain hike
The history and culture behind it bring to light the past of Swiss and German traditions. Behind the rarity and rugged beauty of such flowers behold truly amazing and out-of-the-ordinary meaning and symbolism you really have to know about.
The flower only blooms in the color white and its bloom means grace and elegance. Besides this, it cannot be used as an everyday ornamental. Instead, it has cleaning and medicinal uses beneficial for home and health.
History of the Edelweiss Flower
The edelweiss was defined in 1862 as an alpine plant with entire flower heads and white petals. It had wooly white hairs on its green foliage, thick or fuzzy petals, and soft yellow centers. This mountain flower can grow up to 16 inches tall and has a striking double star formation for its floral design when its light colored petals are in full bloom.
This lovely little white flower is a beloved perennial herb native to central and southeastern regions of Europe with high altitudes. Some of these regions include the European alps or Austrian alps such as the Carpathian and Pyrenees mountains. Since it can grow wild in the highest peaks of the alpine meadows or alpine terrain, it is considered quite a rare flower not commonly found in any gardening space or many areas.
Edelweiss flowers belong to the genus Leontopodium of Asteraceae family. This larger family of flowers is known as the daisy family and sunflower family. The name edelweiss, comes from the Latin name Leontopodium which translates to lion’s foot or lion foot. It also translates from the German words edel & weiss meaning noble and white. Like other short flowering plants, the edelweiss has a short life span and can only be grown in the rockiest areas of mountains.
The flower goes by other common names such as the Wool flower, Star of the Snows, Lion’s paw, German mountain flower, or Queen’s flower. It was called the Queen’s flower because of how the late Austrian emperor Granz Joseph 1 gifted his wife Sisi the flower after his mountain adventure. Aside from this, here are some interesting facts about the edelweiss you need to know.
Unlike other wild plants, the edelweiss sits protected by legal limitations in a national park or sanctuary forbidden to be picked or propagated. The flowers either have the scientific name Leontopodium nivale or Leontopodium alpinum. It is written specifically using both of these scientific names.
Symbolism of an Edelweiss Flower
Like other multi petaled flowers, the edelweiss also has its many symbolisms. It is a popular birth flower during February 13th and is a symbolic flower representing honorable qualities such as eternal love.
It also has a symbolic meaning of excellence in mountaineering activities. Alpine mountain climbers and trekkers adore the flower on their hats as proof of their expertise and par excellence in the Alps. In fact, it also serves as a national symbol and Switzerland’s national flower.
Apart from being a treasure to the Swiss Alps, such blossoms were also a great symbol of the Pirin mountain in Bulgaria. Another symbolic use of these flowers include it being the military insignia of the Austro Hungarian army.
A well known theme song from the musical The Sound of Music sung by Richard Rodgers also pays tribute to these rare flowers. Do you have any idea what the song meant? Well in cultural history, the song name was actually a demonstration of patriotic resistance to the Nazis!
It was also a symbolic flower of the Queen representing purity, sentimentality, and immortality. Aside from this it also symbolizes love and devotion – a unique touch to its meaning of love is that it can either be a romantic love or deep love.
Meaning of an Edelweiss Flower
The edelweiss flower meaning includes many attributes of bravery. It means noble and white and oftentimes reflects one’s courage and being daring. Because it means white, the flower’s etymological meaning also stands for purity.
In the language of flowers, the flowers also embody the meaning symbolism of being courageous in the face of uncertainty and daring in new heights. Not only that, but its unique bloom also kindles faith and guidance in making the right choice during times of difficulty. No wonder the Alpine mountain climbers adore this plant!
What does a White Edelweiss Flower Mean?
Aside from its traditional meaning of showing courage and nobility, there is another meaning behind this white flower. This meaning has something to do with the color white. A white Queen’s flower symbolizes elegance and grace. High up in the mountains, it sits like a maiden awaiting her lover.
What is the Cultural Significance of an Edelweiss Flower?
The German and Swiss cultures have a deeply rooted admiration for this blossom. For the Swiss, this flower was made their national floral motif symbolizing their courage and devotion. The Christmas season holds the most famous custom for these flowers. They decorate their homes and feasts with the flower of the alps to symbolize chastity. And would you believe that these also signify a declaration of love? It is believed that if a girl accepts a bouquet of edelweiss, she also accepts the love of the man who gave it! What a merry Christmas indeed for the young fellow.
Meanwhile, for the Germans, a slightly more historical event is associated with the flowers. The Queen’s flower is honored as the white jewel in German culture. The most surprising fact about these flowers is that Adolf Hilter adored them as his favorite! Children who admired the Führer decorated their letters to him with the flower. This little act of innocence was actually symbolic of being plain and unpretentious.
You read that right, the infamous Führer only favored the edelweiss flowers that were deemed as a symbol of the Nazis. A surprising turn of events during WWII began to unfold for these flowers. What was once a symbol of the tyranny of the Nazis had now become a symbol of the opposition of the resistance!
What are the Folktales Associated with an Edelweiss Flower?
There is a famous saying among mountain climbers about these blooms that trace back to ancient times. They believe that if you carry these around, you will be safe from being stabbed! Funnily though, who would even stab you way up high in the mountains? It may be a laughing joke for some, but they all say that it’s better to be safe than sorry!
A legend about a young man also says that to pick edelweiss is to declare an eternal and true love. Many young men have tried to climb the alps and retrieve the flower and bestow it upon a dearly loved one. Flower lovers from far and wide try their very best to accomplish this task for their loved ones.
Another less dangerous folktale about these flowers is told by many. For some, the Queen’s flower is an ultimate declaration of love and admiration. It is also a testament to unwavering bravery. Men deeply in love would endanger themselves just to get a single stem of this beautiful flower! You can guess what happens next for the lucky maiden he bestows his love too!
What is the Biblical Significance of an Edelweiss Flower?
In the Christian faith, the ivory white appearance of a Queen’s flower is associated with the divine image of the Virgin Mary. Devouts of the Christian faith believe that this flower is an embodiment and representation of her purity and chastity.
What is the Spiritual Influence of an Edelweiss Flower?
The essence of a Queen’s flower offers aid and guidance in manifesting your dreams and goals. Just like for the mountain climbers, these blooms are a reminder that no dream or goal is impossible to achieve as long as there is the determination and courage to do so.
What does an Edelweiss Floral Tattoo Symbolize?
Choosing an edelweiss tattoo declares your courage and nobility. This symbol not only goes for the men daring the mountains, but also for the women trudging through the steep slopes of life. The only difference, women do so with elegance and grace!
Uses of an Edelweiss Bloom
Since these flowers are rare and not commonly found in gardens and most areas, it is protected by the law in many European countries. It is prohibited to pick or pluck these flowers from where they grow! But like every other flower out there, the edelweiss also has traditional folk medicine uses and medicinal properties even before being protected by the law.
Would you believe that these flowers were once used as a house cleaning ingredient? It is actually a great choice of ingredient for cleaning materials. It was popularized as an all-natural house cleaning product that kills airborne or on-surface bacteria and viruses. Apart from this, many traditional folks used the flowers as an insect repellent for moths!
The edelweiss includes several healing properties such as anti-aging, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has anti uv properties that fight against ultraviolet radiation for human skin that the cosmetics industry is constantly researching on. It also was once used in traditional herbal formulas in an Austrian brewery since the 17th century.
Traditionally, these flowers were used as a remedy for various forms of abdominal disorders that cause stomach pain or abdominal pain. It was also used for heart disease, respiratory disorders, and allergic reactions. A word of caution that it is a must to always consult a medical professional before using this plant or any part of it for medical purposes.
~ image source: depositphotos/gsafarek