This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This little Alpine plant is known to botanists as the Gnaphalium Leontopodium, but to the Swiss as Edelweiss, which signifies noble purity. Some of our own native species, as "life-everlasting," are of the same genus, a fact that I found hard to believe at first, as the one was so celebrated, and the other so little noticed by writers or florists. When, however, the Americans are carefully examined together, the resemblance is noticeable even to the uneducated eye, and while their claims to good looks are far inferior to those of the Alpine beauty, we find they have other claims when closely looked for. Most people consider the Life everlasting, including Antennarias with Graphaliums, homely specimens of nature's handiwork, and in their wild, uncultivated state they are not attractive plants; but I think if their capabilities were developed by cultivation they might repay the florist in time by becoming uncommonly prettily marked plants, - that is if the flowers could be enlarged, and this I du not doubt. Antennaria plantagin-ifolia could never rival the Edelweiss, as the greater size of its velvet-like flowers, with deli cate tracery of royal purple; give it an elegance of appearance that the Antennaria could never attain.
This Edelweiss, that was for so many years found only on the inaccessible cliffs of the Tyrolese mountains, where the bold hunter of the chamois risked his life to gather its flower for his love, has now become civilized to such an extent, that the seeds are sold at 1s. per packet by Freeman & Freeman, Economic Seedsmen, Norwich, England.
[To the excellent hint of our correspondent we may add the encouragement that the low form of Life-everlasting - the Antennaria planta-ginifolia, occasionally does become somewhat rosy, and would no doubt get into improved ways by care. - Ed. G. M.]