The flower on the UIMLA (Union of International Mountain Leaders) logo is the edelweiss. So, what do we know about this iconic flower?
The Latin name is Leontopodium Alpinum. It flowers between July and September and grows up to 22cm high. The edelweiss can be found in the Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathians and Balkans. The edelweiss is actually quite rare. It favours lime rich and stony soil around 2000m above sea level.
The leaves and flowers are covered in tiny hairs and appear woolly. As any IML can tell you, with their expert knowledge of the environment, this is an alpine or mountain adaption helping the plant survive that frosts and cold air that are common in the mountains even in the summer.
- All IMLs have the edelweiss symbol on their badges and carnets
- It is the symbol of numerous alpine organisations due to it favouring growing in rugged and remote mountainous areas.
- It is used by the Swiss army on a General's insignia in place of stars.
- It appears on the Austrian one euro coin.
- In traditional remedies it was used to cure abdominal and respiratory ailments.
- Folklore suggests that giving this flower to a loved one means that you promise dedication!
- It was used as the symbol for the cap badge of the Wehrmacht Gebirgsjager (mountain troop)
So, next time you see an IML wearing their badge, look out for that white flower in the middle!