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Soldanella alpina – Alpine Snowbell

Soldanella alpina 3 Soldanella alpina

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Soldanella alpina is an alpine plant which thrives at very high altitudes in harsh climates thought by botanists to be some of the toughest conditions in the world for plants to grow.  Native to the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges in Europe, Soldanella alpina is a neat, mound-forming, evergreen perennial with rounded to heart shaped, dark green leaves which hug the ground.  The plant remains dormant throughout the long cold winters but in early spring as the ice begins to melt the first buds push through the snow, slowly opening into pretty, delicately fringed, funnel-shaped, purple to violet coloured flowers.

Botanical Name: Soldanella alpina

Common Name: Alpine Snowbell or Blue Moonwort

Plant Type: Evergreen perennial

Habit: Cushion or mound forming

Size: Up to 5” tall and wide in 2 – 5 years

Habitat: Native to high, and often exposed, mountain slopes in poor soil where it will be covered in snow and ice for long periods of time.

Bloom Time: As the ice begins to melt the plant emerges from its dormant state and starts to push its way to the surface.  As more ice melts the plant continues to grow until it is ready to flower.

Soldanella means little coins in Italian.  Soldanella alpina, last week’s Plant of the Week – Saxifraga oppositfolia and Swiss Snow Algae have recently been used by the skincare company ‘la prairie’ in new products targeted to prevent skin ageing.

 

 

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