Family: Asteraceae

Widely distributed throughout mountainous regions of the world, from Europe through to China and South America, these low-growing, tufted, woolly perennials include the Swiss edelweiss. There are around 30 species.


L. alpinum, edelweiss, from mountain­ous parts of Europe, grows to 30 cm (12 in), with grayish leaves covered with white down, and star-shaped, cream flowers surrounded by white bracts. They resemble a short-petalled flannel flower.

L. haplophylloides, zone 6, from China, is a lemon-scented plant which grows to around 35 cm (14 in). It has grayish white foliage and the towers are similar to those of the edelweiss.

L. japonicum, native to China, Korea and Japan, has darkish green leaves and light gray flower heads. It grows to about 50 cm (20 in).


Leontopodiums, especially the Swiss edelweiss, are grown as alpines on rock gardens mainly in the north. They need well-drained, alkaline to neutral soil and full sun. Support a pane of glass over plants in winter to protect them from excessive rain. Propagate from seed sown when ripe.


Zone 5 for most species.

Leonotis      Lepidozamia