Part V of Bucegi Mountains
Although not considered an emblem flower of the Carpathian Mts., Leontopodium alpinum – the Alps Edelweiss is much sought after. Whenever we had friends coming with us, they always wanted to see it growing on the mountain. It is not common everywhere, but we found it one day while hiking on Valea Cerbului towards a favourite place of ours, which can be reached by diverting from the marked trail leading to the plateau. The popular German name: edelweiss comes from ‘edel’-noble and ‘weiss’- white, while the scientific one: Leontopodium means ‘lion’s paw’. In Romanian the common name is: Queen’s flower and like in many other countries it is a protected species. Shortly lived in cultivation but it can be grown form seed.
On the rich subalpine meadows at the bottom of the cliffs, more snow blossoms showed up – of our favourite Dianthus: Dianthus petraeus (subsp. petraeus), with fringed, white, fragrant flowers. Usually growing in crevices of big boulders or on the mountain slopes, it was unfortunately just at the end of flowering but the perfume from a few late flowers was a more than enough remainder. Then we found the endemic Dianthus tenuifolius, flowering abundantly in the sub-alpine meadow and also with some seeds as well; bright, pink flowers on 15-20 cm tall branched stems. And just when you think it cannot get any better, clumps of deep blue flowers of a rare endemic gentian started to appear: Gentiana phlogifolia (syn. G. cruciata subsp. phlogifolia). Flowering from July to September, it grows up to 20 cm but with somewhat trailing stems under the weight of the flowers.
Going down on the memory lane by looking at the pictures, and also leafing through Flora of Romania, I realized that the very nice Centaurea pinnatifida, that we’ve seen growing in the same place, is also endemic! Wishing that they will all bloom and grow forever on that magic mountain!