Saturday, November 19, 2011

Does the wild edelweiss flower that grows high in the Swiss Alps have thorns?

I am not refering to the garden variety edelweiss or the American version of the edelweiss plant. I am specifically refering to the wild edelweiss that grows only in some parts of the Swiss Alps at an altitude of 2,000 to 2,900. The Genus and Species name is: Leontopodium alpinum. I would like to know if this plant has thorns on the stem. I don't think you can really answer this question unless you have actually been to the Swiss alps and have seen an actual flower. I spoke to several Swiss residents and most said they have never seen one in their lifetime. By thorns I do not necessarily mean thorns as in rose thorns. I was told by some Swiss people that you can get pricked if you try to touch them. They diddn't know the English word for "thorns" and I would just like to know more about this really famous and beautiful flower. I don't think they were refering to it being illegal to pick the flower because we discussed that separately. I believe they were refering to actual thorns.

Does the wild edelweiss flower that grows high in the Swiss Alps have thorns?
My mom has one of these blossoms preserved in a glass pendant -- it had been plucked from the Alps and given to her as a gift when she was younger (my family is from Germany originally). While it is "furry", I see no indication of thorns, and she has never mentioned any to me (she also picked them herself when younger -- she is 87 now). But in doing some on-line research to substantiate this, I found THIS disturbing tidbit of information:

"The latest research, however, initially in a book dating from 1910, but ony recently recovered, indicates that Edelweiss, the flower, was actually imported from Asia sometime within the past centuries. What a travisty of justice for virually the national symbol of Austria and the Alps!"

Reply:No. I have seen one in Austria and not just on a coin ;)
Reply:it is not at all pricky, it is in fact fluffy, soft.

it can however be mistaken for some species of thistle (Cirsium) when it doesnt have flowers. these are thorny. this can be my guessxplanation for the confusion

the plant is not much common/widespread, therefore if you go to the mountains for a trip, you probably won t see one. but they are grown in gardens commonly, either obtained from nurseries or pillaged from the wild.

no difference between the cultivated and wild plants


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