If you like mountain climbing or hiking, you might be quite familiar with a type of flower that is commonly found on mountain areas. This unique flower is known as Edelweiss flower. Edelweiss flower is classified as endemic plant that can grow and survive on high mountains of Indonesia. This type of flower needs a huge supply of sunshine to grow.
On the other hand, this beautiful flower is very familiar among people who like to hike or climb the mountains and became inspirations for many people through its beauty.
Moreover, this flower also became the symbol of eternity as well. No wonder this flower is also named Everlasting Flower due to its ability to bloom in quite long period of time. Edelweiss flower has white petals and it can bloom during April to August each year.
You also can find this flower on several mountains in Indonesia such as Rinjani Mount, Merbabu Mount, Semeru Mount, and Papandayan Mount. Edelweiss flower is also very popular among tourists as well, not only local tourists but also tourists from other countries outside Indonesia. This flower is usually dried and sold as souvenir.
This is the main reason why this flower became extinct. However, these days the Bromo Tengger National park in Semeru Mount starts to cultivate the Edelweiss flower. Edelweiss and Javanese Edelweiss are also known as Everlasting Flower with Latin name Anaphalis javanica. Below are Edelweiss flower facts that you might not know yet.
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The first of Edelweiss flower facts is its discovery. According to the history, Edelweiss flower is first found by German naturalist named Georg Carl Reinwardt. Reinwardt conducted an expedition to Indonesia in 1819. In this expedition, Reinwardt arrived at Gede Mount which is located in West Java.
On the hillside of this mountain, Reinwardt found a beautiful flower that is known today as Edelweiss flower. After found this flower, Reinwardt studied it and since then this flower became more and more popular. Several expeditions also found this flower on other areas such as Semeru Mount and Merbabu Mount.
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Edelweiss is a very unique flower. This flower can survive and grow on the highland where other plants will not survive. Edelweiss has roots that are propagated or spread only on the surface of the ground. Usually, this flower has epiphyte characteristic which means this flower needs other plants in symbiotic way so that this flower can absorb water and nutrients in more effective way.
Edelweiss has white leaves. The leaves of this plant are spear shaped with bristle on their surface. The petiole might grow from 3 to 20 cm or even more. The leaves of Edelweiss are also known for their benefits as alternative ingredients for traditional medicine. The most popular part of this plat is definitely its flower.
Meanwhile, Edelweiss flower has about 506 pollens. The pollens are yellow and have very small size. The pollens are surrounded by petals that arranged in star shaped formation. The pollination of this flower is usually helped by wind or animals. The pollens will bloom about 1 to 3 days and after 3 days the pollens will fall.
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Edelweiss plant can grow up to 8 meters high in certain condition. The stem of this plant can grow until it’s as big as human’s foot even though normally it will not more than 1 meter high. If the branches of this plant grow strong enough, these branches can be a place for birds to make their nest.
Symbiotic relationship with Mycorrhizae
Even though Edelweiss plant can grow on mountains this plant has really great ability to grow on barren ground where other plants might not be able to grow. This ability is supported by the symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizae.
Mycorrhizae are a type of fungus that lives on volcanic ground. This type of fungus can help the roots of Edelweiss to spread wider on the surface of the ground. As the result of this symbiotic relationship, Edelweiss can get the nutrients and water that it needs for its survival.
With enough water and nutrients, Edelweiss can grow properly and blooming naturally. Mycorrhizae also help the Edelweiss to get water and nutrients in more effective and efficient way as well.
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As mentioned above, Edelweiss is considered as one of the endangered species in Indonesia. However, there are still many people who take this flower from its natural habitat and bring this flower as souvenir.
Some of them didn’t realize that what they do will make this flower extinct. To protect the existence of this flower, Gede Pangrango National Park is built as the only place for the conservation of this flower. This national park is also considered as the last sanctuary for this flower as well.
Even so, people who visit this national park still take the Edelweiss without realizing the effect of their action. In 1988, 636 Edelweiss stems are taken from this national park.
Monitoring by the Authorities
If you go on hiking or mount climbing to the habitat of Edelweiss, you can’t take this flower and bring this flower home. These days, some officers will appear on the climbing post on several mountains that became habitat for Edelweiss.
These officers will check the carrier that is brought by the hikers or climbers. If they find any Edelweiss inside the carrier, these officers will impound the flower. The hikers and climbers are not permitted to take and bring this flower from its natural habitat.
Appear on National Postage Stamps
Edelweiss is considered as one of the most popular endemic plants that can be found in Indonesia. This plant not only has very beautiful flower but it’s also considered as endangered species as well.
To build awareness to the status of this plant and as tribute to this beautiful flower, the Indonesian Postal Service printed the picture of this flower on postage stamps in 2003. The designs of the postage stamps that use this flower as their picture show the beauty of Edelweiss in minimalist style. The postage stamps came in nominal of IDR3000. People’s reception to this postal stamp is very positive and more people know the existence of this endangered flower.
Edelweiss is Cultivated
If you find Edelweiss is sold on several stalls near the mountains or shops on several cities in Indonesia, these flowers are not taken from its natural habitat. The Edelweiss that is sold on shops came from the cultivations.
These days, some farmers are cultivating Edelweiss to meet the demand on the market. If you look closely, you will find out that the physical appearance of cultivated Edelweiss is a little bit different than the physical appearance of Edelweiss that grows naturally on its habitat.
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Edelweiss in Other Countries
Edelweiss not only can be found in Indonesia but also can be found on other countries as well. The species of Edelweiss that grows outside Indonesia is known as Leontopodium alpinum and it has a little bit different appearance with the Edelweiss that grows in Indonesia.
In European countries, this flower is commonly found on the height of 1,700 to 2,700 meters above sea level. Just like in Indonesia, other countries also forbid people to take this flower from its natural habitat.
On the other hand, other countries that issued regulation about protection to this flower are including Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Swiss, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Austria.
Named as Everlasting Flower
Edelweiss is also known as Everlasting Flower. This flower can last very long due to the hormone that can be found in this flower. This hormone is called ethylene that works as suppressor to growth hormone. As the result, the Edelweiss flower can’t fall and can’t bloom up to ten years. This hormone also make this flower can be stored in dried form under room temperature.
Another Edelweiss flower facts is that it can be used as medicine. According to several studies, Edelweiss flower contains various nutrients and chemicals that can be used as medicine for human.
The history recorded that in ancient times, people use the extract of Edelweiss flower as medicine to treat various health issues such as dysentery, diarrhea, tuberculosis, and diphtheria. Edelweiss flower also contains high level of antioxidant and has anti-microbe and anti-inflammation properties.
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