The alpine Edelweiss (Edelweiß, the German symbol ß equals two "s" letters = ss ), which in the German language means "noble and white", is found generally at altitudes from 1,700 to 2,700 meters (5,577 to 8,858 Feet). Edelweiss prefers calcareous light soils with excellent drainage and southern sun exposure, where it likes to form herbal mats, growing from 8 to 20 cm (3.1 to 7.8 inches) tall. Edelweiss flowers are classified as short lived perennials, which after being picked during a number of growing seasons from the same plant, are unable to propagate by seeding and will disappear from an formerly established area. Cultural significance: The Edelweiss flower has since time immemorial been valued as medicine against the ailments of men and their beasts, as powerful Talisman to ward off evil and of course as the "Ultimate Love Charms" of the mountains. Love struck young men would try to endear themselves by collecting Edelweiss from those hard to access crags and ledges in the High Alpine of Europe. During these quests many died from falls, or succumbed to exposure, insufficiently prepared for sudden weather changes. Dozens perished in just one season! The danger wrought exercise of collecting such a bouquet proved in those days that the suitor was brave, able-bodied and serious in his intentions. A mixing of flowers and machismo rarely seen in western culture. That is one of the reasons why men still decorate themselves with this bloom and wear it like a "Medal of Honor".