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Alpen Edelweiß, Leontopodium alpinum 2.JPG
Edelweiss (Leontopodium nivale)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Supertribe: Asterodae
Tribe: Gnaphalieae
Genus: Leontopodium
(Pers.) R.Br. ex Cass.
L. shinanense

Leontopodium is a genus of plants in the Asteraceae family (which also includes daisies and sunflowers). The genus is native to Europe and Asia.[1][2] The fuzzy and somewhat stocky "petals" (technically, bracts) could be thought of as somewhat resembling lions' paws—hence the genus name combining léōn (lion) and pódion (foot).[3][4][5]

The genus includes the edelweiss (L. nivale[6][7]), a well-known plant from the mountains of Europe. The term edelweiss can, more rarely, refer to other members of the genus.[8]


The following species are currently recognized:[9]

In popular culture[edit]

Leontopodium nivale, the edelweiss, has been regarded as a national symbol of Austria, worn as a cap emblem by Austrian troops and displayed on Austrian coins.[10] A song about the plant, written by Oscar Hammerstein, was featured in the musical production The Sound of Music.[11]


  1. ^ "Leontopodium". Digital Flora of Taiwan.
  2. ^ "Leontopodium". Flora of Pakistan.
  3. ^ λέων, πόδιον, πούς. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  4. ^ Flora of China Vol. 20-21 Page 778 火绒草属 huo rong cao shu Leontopodium R. Brown ex Cassini, Bull. Sci. Soc. Philom. Paris. 1819: 144. 1819.
  5. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Leontopodium includes photos and range maps
  6. ^ "edelweiss". The Free Dictionary by farlex.
  7. ^ "edelweiss". Encyclopædia Britannica online.
  8. ^ Iza Goroff (July 2004). "Plant of the Month: Leontopodium souliei".
  9. ^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist search for Leontopodium Archived 2014-11-06 at Archive.today
  10. ^ Meriam, Ray (1999). Gebirgsjaeger: Germany's Mountain Troops. World War II Arsenal. 3. Merriam Press. p. 44. ISBN 1576381633.
  11. ^ Edelweiss in "The Sound of Music"