Edelweiss, a Collapsed Star
A Rare Flower
Over 380,000 species of plants from around the world are endangered due to overexploitation and pollution caused by people. The scientist found in Romania 3.700 rare species of plants and in present 23 are monuments of nature.One of them is such a herb called Edelweiss. We can find in Romania on human inaccessible cliffs Vrancea Mountains, Bucegi, Fagaraş Mountains, Maramureş Mountains, Rodna, Bucovina, Ceahlãu, Retezat Godeanu Mountains. Edelweiss is a very rare plant. For this reason it was declared a natural monument and is protected by law since 1931. Edelweiss is protected in nature reserves such as the Stone Mountains, Bucegi, Ciucaş, Alba. „When the Romanians talk about Edelweiss, Leontopodium alpinum, everyone thinks of something rare,” according to a science woman who lives in the mountains Ceahlãu. Edelweiss is a perennial plant, with the right strain can reach a height of 50-80 cm, with no ramifications. In the earth it is developing a cylindrical rhizome, covered with dark-brown leaf and on soil surface forms a rosette of leaves in the middle of which rises a short stem 5-20 cm, sometimes 30 cm. It has an inflorescence called calatidium which has the shape of a disc which clustered flowers. A well known artist from Romania , Ducu Bertzi dedicated a song for this rare plant.The lyrics composed by Ducu Bertzi sounds like this:
“Dream of silver and petals
Your nest is above the rise
Your range descends-n about me
Nice like in a story.
Wonder under vaults
Snow Flower top rock-n
Above clouds and stars
Who should I reach you?
Only my longings!
Flower of living light
Morning warm smile
I’ve been waiting an eternity
I meet you once in life.” –Edelweiss, Ducu Bertzi
Edelweiss is known also like “The Queen’s Flower”, “Albumeala”, “Flocoşele”, “Albumiṭa”. When we asked our biology teacher about the origin of this names, she told us: “These names were given by our ancestors for inflorescence is dressed with hairy leaves, some bigger, some smaller, which take the form of stars. It consists of up to ten inflorescences with numerous and tiny flowers, surrounded by five to fifteen white bracts, arranged radially, giving the whole ensemble look of a flower. The plant is covered with velvety hairs, silvery, which gives a special note. Edelweiss blooms in July and August.”
The legend says that in the popular tradition, Edelweiss is a symbol of love. In the year 1600, men show their love for their sweethearts, skill and courage by collecting the Edelweiss from a sharp corner on the rocks of the mountains and gave them to their girlfriends.
Methods of saving the Edelweiss
When we heard from the scientists that since 1600, the rate of extinction of Edelweiss had been increasing in the same time with people number and with consumption of natural resurses, we decided to take attitude. The principal causes of the extinction are: distruction of the habitats, commercial exploitation because of the collecting of the flowers, pollution. A lot of researchers think that from the dinosaurus extinction, 65 milions of years, we are in the middle of a big crises, of irreversible distruction of the plants. If we don’t fight to perseve the current ecosystems, we will shortly trouble keeping clean and healthy environment and by ensuring food. We all must be more responsible for the environment by planting trees and protecting the rare plants, especially the Edelweiss, the symbol of the beauty of Romanian forests.
By: Antonio Imbrea,Marian Percã,Ema-Ioana Sescu,Adelina Robu,Cosmina-Adelina Turculeṭ (11 years old, the fifth grade)
From:”Vasile Alecsandri” High School, Sãbãoani, Romania