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Alpine star, from the evocative and sonorous name of Edelweiss, in German, is a protected flower, perhaps also because it is one of the best known and most sought after among those in the mountains. You can find it while walking, but if you want to look for it you have to go to rather high altitudes, especially in the Alps, even if there are many varieties, around the world.
Known in the scientific world under the name of Leontopodium Alpinum, which we will discuss later, is a herbaceous plant belonging to ffamily of Asteraceae: even if it prefers our Alps, it grows spontaneously in the Pyrenees and the Himalayas, and always in Italy in the Ligurian Apennines up to over 3000 m.
Edelweiss: the flower
About 15 cm high, the Alpine star in the months of June and July he gives us his flowers, ideal and often destined only to be cut and dried, to create small pictures to hang on the wall. Lately other virtues have been discovered besides beauty. These are very small and greenish flowers, gathered in flower heads surrounded in turn by very hairy and white leaves forming a sort of rays. It is thanks to the hair that the plant of the Alpine star it can boast an anomalous resistance to harsh temperatures and deserve the reputation of a rustic plant that does not fear frost.
Returning to flowers, the prevails'Ornamental use so let's see how to proceed. After flowering, they are cut immediately and placed between absorbent paper sheets to dry. They need to be compressed to get a good result. Nothing complicated, you can easily proceed in the old way, when slipping a flower of Alpine star in bulky books then placed between other books or under a weight, so as to obtain the dried version of a wonderful Edelweiss. One of the reasons why the Alpine star it is so loved by those who create art with flowers is its ability to remain almost unchanged when left to dry.
Before you start thinking about cultivating the Alpine star, we acknowledge that it is absolutely not an indoor plant: trying to keep one at home means condemning it to death. And condemn ourselves to failure as aspiring green thumbs in an alpine version.
If we can keep it outside, let's take the plant of Alpine star and transplant it into a pot, but it is large enough, or leave it in the ground. The important thing is to act delicately, being careful not to break the clod of earth that surrounds the roots of the young Edelweiss. For the rest, after these steps, there are no particular needs of the plant to report and for which to be alarmed, in general it adapts well to poor soils, just avoid water stagnation, thus keeping the soil well drained.
Edelweiss in pot
If we fix the Edelweiss in a vase, we must prepare the best possible ground for her to make her feel at ease. One solution may be to mix simple soil with a little sand, transplant the Star and then place it in an area where it is well exposed to the sun. If we live in an area where it is very hot, it is fine, indeed, it is better that the plant is in half shade.
Once settled, we immediately water the Alpine star, abundantly, then over time it is good to proceed with two waterings a week or a little more, without ever exaggerating. If we are good at following the plant in pot, it will live until autumn and we will see the aerial part die completely: no panic, in spring it will become luxuriant again. A trick during the winter, to pamper our little plant, is to spread lime on it, mixing it with the soil, without fertilizing.
Also known as "Queen of mountain flowers", The Alpine star is the protagonist of a romantic
legend. It is said that there was once a beautiful, pure and noble girl who, despite being desired by many knights, never met anyone who became her husband.
So she found herself dying as a spinster but became a flower. Not just any, though: a gorgeous flower that grows only in places unapproachable by humans. Right there Alpine star. Today we find it no longer in fairy tales but on the Austrian euro and in the brand of a beer. Its Latin name Leontopodium means lion's foot, a reminder of the distant resemblance of flowers to a lion's paw. Far away, but the imagination of the ancients was remarkable.
Edelweiss: healing properties
In traditional medicine the plant of the Alpine star it was used to treat coughs and relieve rheumatic pains, as well as an astringent. It has long been known that it contains salts, tannins and some other substances but only recently have these "other substances" been better identified.
From the extract of the Edelweiss root it is possible to obtain chlorogenic and leontopodic acid, flavonoids, phytosterols and sitosterols, amino acids and polysaccharides. The first acid is typically found in apple seeds and in combination with tannins inhibits the formation of harmful free radicals. The other acid, present in types A and B, shows anti hyaluronidase and anti collagenase properties, flavonoids, improve blood circulation and also have a certain anti-inflammatory activity, together with phytosterols and sitosterols which are also antibacterial. Finally amino acids and polysaccharides they are moisturizing and nourishing.
Edelweiss in cosmetics
By dint of being only good for making pictures, ours Alpine star it has also proved useful in the field of cosmetics. This is for the active substances it contains and which have antioxidant properties. According to some studies, the extract of this plant could determine a decrease in wrinkles, preventing the loss of collagen and thus giving elasticity to the skin. Tests have been carried out on various samples that have shown that edelweiss-based cosmetics are 10 times more active than those with a placebo base.
Not to create DIY creams but for the satisfaction of cultivating the plant and obtaining the beautiful coveted flower, in memory of the girl of the legend, we can buy 200 Edelweiss seeds. The package costs less than 5 euros and we will get 15 cm plants, suitable for rock gardens as well as pots.
I take this opportunity to remind you that it is forbidden to uproot the plants of Alpine star from their natural habitat. It is therefore better to start getting used to the idea of buying these plants online, in this case there are also easy instructions and, with the right climate, we can be optimistic about the outcome of our cultivation.
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