The edelweiss, a delicate mountain flower with furry white petals, is so strongly associated with the Alps it is hard to believe it originated in the Himalayas and Siberia. The ‘wool flower’ became widely known as Edelweiss and took on a special cult status in Switzerland. The flower has attracted admirers and critics over the years but remains one of the most iconic images of Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
The flower is protected in Austria and illegal to pick. An “edelweiss” is also worn as a cap emblem by certain Austrian army and the German Gebirgsjäger (mountain troopers) units stationed in the nearby Bavarian Alps.