Edelweiss, We won't let its beauty vanish and extinct.
Based on some literature I've read, edelweiss are found in various types. The one which grows in my country is known as Javanese edelweiss under species name Anaphalis javanica, while European edelweiss is known as Leontopodium alpinum. Both edelweiss live high in the mountainous areas. The flower is brightly white with furry surface on it to adapt to harsh, cold temperature where it naturally belongs to.
Despite bearing alpinum in its name, edelweiss is not only popular in particular countries around the Alps like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, and Italy. People who live in tropical country like Indonesia also adore it much although our edelweiss in fact is different in taxonomy and known as Javanese Edelweiss. Javanese edelweiss is threatened by vandalism today and we make effort to conserve it.
Edelweiss get more popularity worldwide when a musical movie The Sound of Music used a theme song with the name the same as the flower, Edelweiss. The lyrics, created by Oscar Hemmerstein II, say :
Every morning you greet me
Small and white clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Bless my homeland forever.
The song is indeed beautiful and almost entire the world has enjoyed the song and the movie including me.
I have some personal opinions about this flower to give more thoroughly ideas in describing edelweiss:
Edelweiss is graceful
Edelweiss grows up high in the mountain.
Edelweiss is there only for those who struggle to see.
Edelweiss represents people in love and the love itself.
Edelweiss makes people so proud of having seen it directly in nature.
Edelweiss last long, many even call it the flower of eternity.
Edelweiss is endangered, it needs protection.
Despite their wonderful predicates, many of us don't have positive attitude on edelweiss. Many people do contra productive actions to this legendary flower. They express their admiration in wrong ways, they love but they hurt it.....
Edelweiss grows well at 6500 ft to 9500 ft above sea level. In those heights, the atmosphere has the temperature that edelweiss needs to grow well. Dr Michael Gottfried, from the Global Observation Research Initiative said warmer temperature on earth as the result of global warming has increased the population of warm loving plants in the mountain which on the other hand gradually occupy edelweiss growing places. Similar statement was also made by Stefan Moidl, a climate expert from WWF Austria. He said that fragile plants including edelweiss are threatened by the increasing temperature on earth.
The action of vandalism, besides the effect from climate change mentioned above, certainly makes the threat to edelweiss more severe and serious and it happens in my place. People here seem so proud and happy if they can get edelweiss and use it as decorations in their house. To make it worse those who are supposed to be the major agents of conservations like mountain climbers, trekkers and other nature aficionados , are sometimes parts of the culprits. To express their love to their boy/girl friends, they present edelweiss they took from their trekking journey to the mountain.
Edelweiss in my place.
Edelweiss in my country, Indonesia, is one of the most sought after flowers by its true and false lovers. They want it because the flower only grows at locations where they are not easy to be seen. People have to make efforts climbing to reach that height or to certain mountains to see edelweiss. Two mountains which are popularly for its edelweiss growth are Mt. Gede, Mt. Semeru, and Mt. Papandayan, although the population in Mt. Gede has much decreased today due to irresponsible hands.
Amidst the facts there are people who express their love in wrong ways like picking them up and bring them home, but there seems increasing number of people who also have concerns how to conserve edelweiss. Those people who lead to positive attitude toward edelweiss are mostly young aged and from nature aficionados including mountain climbers, environmentalist students, etc.
They support and also become positive agents in line with the government efforts in conservation, officially under Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency. They involve in the protections by avoiding such misconducts, helping monitor and warn people who vandalize edelweiss.
European and Javanese edelweiss.
I have to admit that edelweiss species living in Europe are physically larger in sizes naturally than its sibling growing in my place which is also called Javanese edelweiss. I am not sure how about American and African edelweiss, since I have never heard about their existence in those continents.
As you can see in the picture, edelweiss from the Alps has 5-6 clusters of what-so-called spikelet florets with petals in double star position. While in Javanese edelweiss, it has clusters of spikelet florets but the petals are not clearly seen.
I took the picture of Javanese edelweiss in Mt. Papandayan mountain a couple of months ago while most of the plants were not blooming yet. So, I think it was not the optimum time for the edelweiss flower to bloom and that's why it appeared in small sizes.
Edelweiss in some facts.
Edelweiss was firstly known grew in the Himalaya mountain and began to be popularly recognized just in 19th century.
Edelweiss scientific name is Leontopodium alpinum literally means "Alpine lion's tooth"
Edelweiss is known as the symbolization of love based on a story about A brave suitor who risked his own life climbing a dangerous steep rock just to get some edelweiss to be presented to his lover.
Edelweiss is also called the stars of the snow. Hitler liked the flower very much and used it as an insignia but then edelweiss was also used as a symbol in actions against Nazism.
Some scientific publications say that edelweiss has several benefits for beauty. The flower contains chlorogenic acid (anti microbial, anti oxidant, help deter aging), luteolin (anty inflammatory, reduce allergic reactions), bisabolane derivatives, and beta sitosterol (help control cholesterol) which give benefits in skin treatment. Many pharmaceutical companies have utilized it in producing their beauty and health products.
Javanese edelweiss (Anaphalis javanica) is an endemic plant which becomes the basis for plant to be protected under Government Regulation No. 7, 1999. The regulation must be implemented strictly since researchers from Semeru Bromo Tengger National Park predict Javanese edelweiss in Mt. Semeru is to be extinct in less than 10 years if no serious efforts in its conservation and protection.