The Letter The Performance  

Rhododendron ferrugineum L.

"Alas, in the humid darkness of the dungeon he must fall ill - as the alpine rose wilts and withers in the swamp air"
Friedrich Schiller (1804): William Tell

The fuss surrounding alpine roses, gentians and Edelweiss already commenced at the end of the 18th century, when the first alpine plants were introduced through the catalogues of the market gardens. Soon thousands of plants were exported to England and all of Europe in order to decorate garden landscapes, rock and alpine gardens. In the beginning only few plants survived due to lack of acclimatization (ref. to the quote from William Tell).

According to popular belief, the alpine rose (like many other plants blooming in red) would attract thunderstorms. Special esteem was attributed to the alpine rose blooming in white, it is supposed to lead the way to treasures or veins of gold.


Jaume Saint-Hilaire, Jean Henri (1828-1833): La flore et la pomone françaises: histoire et figure en couleur, des fleurs et des fruits de France ou naturalisés sur le sol français. 6 v., 544 leaves of plates : ill. (col. printed) ; 29 cm. °© Paris: Chez l'auteur, rue Furstemberg. [Ausschnitt]. © 1995-2003 Missouri Botanical Garden, Rare Books

Small Picture:

Heyn, Ernst (1888-91): Alpenrosen und Legföhren (Tirol). In: Kerner, Anton, Ritter von Marilaun: Pflanzenleben. Quelle:

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