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 and slowly open into pretty, delicately fringed, funnel-shaped, purple to violet colored 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 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.