Edelweiss is really weird. Of course I had heard of it before, the song especially, but I never saw it before my mother pointed it out for sale at a gift shop, up in a pass in the Dolomites. Half the passersby exclaimed in delight on seeing it, and since she had paused to draw the flowers, she could hardly mistake the consensus.
I saw lots more of it the next day: it decorated every tombstone in the gorgeously-situated cemetery in the town of Colle S. Lucia.
It was not even white, contrary to the song, but a pale, pale green. Its five-plus centers reminded me of nothing so much as Cthulhoid eyes. It struck me as a notably alien and unfamiliar plant. Yet, for the locals, it is a ubiquitous badge of homeland, especially with its geometry abstracted into even fives: five centers, five short petals, five long ones, on tablecloths, hiking badges, and shopping bags.