Leontopodium alpinum
Common Name: edelweiss 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Southern Europe
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Yellow with woolly white bracts
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy


Best grown in cool summer climates in sandy to gritty, neutral to alkaline, sharply-drained soils in full sun. Dislikes the heat and humidity of a typical St. Louis summer. Plants are often short-lived.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Leontopodium alpinum, commonly called edelweiss, is a clumping, loosely-tufted, woolly perennial wildflower that is native to rocky, limestone, alpine areas in Europe. It typically grows to 6-10" tall, and slowly spreads over time by rhizomes to form colonies. Yellow disk flowers subtended by showy, fuzzy, white-woolly, bract-like leaves bloom from July to September on short stems rising up from a mat of narrow, felted, gray-green basal leaves. This species is now protected in a number of European countries including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France.

Genus name comes from Greek leon meaning lion and podion meaning foot. Flowers and bract-like leaves purportedly resemble a lion's paw.

Specific epithet means alpine.

Common name comes from German edel (noble) and weiss (white). Edelweiss is the name of a song composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein for The Sound of Music.


No serious insect or disease problems. Difficult to grow well in the St. Louis climate. Crown rot will develop in overly-moist, poorly-drained soils.


Rock garden. Raised beds or border fronts.