Leontopodium


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Leontopodium

 

(edelweiss), a genus of perennial plants of the family Compositae. The heads are crowded together into dense tufts or complex cymes. Sometimes the heads are solitary. The tufts or cymes are usually surrounded by feltlike, extended terminal leaves, which are arranged in a characteristic star form.

There are about 30 species (according to other data, as many as 50), distributed throughout Eurasia except for the Caucasus and Western Asia. The USSR has six to eight species in the Far East and Siberia, two species in Middle Asia, and one species in the Carpathians. The plants grow mainly in the mountain-steppe and high-mountain belts with elevations to 5,000 m. The most common species is the alpine edelweiss (L. alpinum), whose snow-white woolly terminal leaves form a regular many-rayed star. Gathered widely for its exceptional beauty, the plant almost became extinct. It was listed in the Red Data Book and is now a protected species.

REFERENCE

Grubov, V. I. “Edel’veis— Leontopodium R. Br.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 25. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.

M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV

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