Edelweiss (Latin: Leontopodium alpinum Cass., Romanian: Floarea reginei or Floarea de colţ), is one of the best-known European mountain flowers, belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The name comes from German edel (meaning noble) and weiss (meaning white). The scientific name, Leontopodium, means "lion's paw" and is derived from the Greek words leon (lion) and podion (diminutive of pous, foot).
Leaves and flowers are covered with white hairs and appear woolly (tomentose). Flowering stalks of Edelweiss can grow to a size of 3–20 cm (in cultivation, up to 40 cm). Each bloom consisting of five to six small yellow flower heads (5 mm) surrounded by leaflets in star form. The flowers are in bloom between July and September. The plant is unequally distributed and prefers rocky limestone places at 2000–2900 m altitude. Since it usually grows in inaccessible places, it is associated in many countries of the alpine region with mountaineering. Its white colour is considered a symbol of purity, and holds a Latin as well as Romanian name, floarea reginei (Queen's flower).
Edelweiss is a protected plant in many countries, including Romania (since 1933). It appears on the Romanian 50 Lei banknote. In Romania, floarea de colţ grows in Maramureşului and Rodnei Mountains, Obcinele Bucovinei, Rarău, Ceahlău, Ciucaş, Bucegi, Făgăraş, Cozia şi Retezat Mountains.
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