Anaphalis margaritacea

Pearly Everlasting

Pearly Everlasting, BWCAW; Photo © by Earl J.S. Rook
Pearly Everlasting
BWCAW
Photo © by Earl J.S. Rook

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


Name:

  • Anaphalis, from the Greek, ana (ana), "upwards, above, on, upon, up, high", and falos (phalos), "shining, white"
  • margaritacea, from the Latin margarita, "pearl"; hence "pearl like"
  • Pearly Everlasting, from
  • Other common names include Western Pearly Everlasting, Silberimmortellen (Ger), Immortelle de Virginie (Fr), Helminukkajäkkärä (Fin)

Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons 
      • Subclass Asteridae
        • Order Asterales, the Sunflowers 
          • Family Asteraceae, the Sunflowers 
            • Genus Anaphalis, the Pearly Everlastings
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 36529
  • Also known as Anaphalis occidentalis, Gnaphalium margaritaceum 

Description:

  • An erect, short-lived, rhizomatous perennial, to 36" tall
  • Leaves elongated, alternate, narrow and untoothed, 3"-6" long, ¼"-½" wide; usually grey green above, wooly white beneath.
  • Stem erect, covered with white hairs.
  • Roots 
  • Flowers borne in 2" or wider, flat clusters of globular white, button-like heads; pearly white, papery bracts surround the yellow centers. Retain their color and texture when dried.
    • Sepals 
    • Petals 
    • Stamens 
    • Pistils
    • Ovary superior (within blossom) inferior (below flower) 
  • Fruit dry seed heads.
  • Seed black

Identification:

  • Identifiable as
  • Distinguished from 
  • Field Marks

Distribution:

  • Alaska to Newfoundland, south to California, Arizona, New Mexico,
  • China, Japan, and India
  • Northern America: Canada - British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan; United States - Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Habitat:

  • Undisturbed open and brushy uplands; roadsides.

Fire:

  • Often seeds in after fire.

Associates:

  • Insects: Butterflies

History:

  • Has been used as a tobacco substitute.

Uses:

  • Sometimes picked and dried for winter bouquets; cut in full flower and hung upside down.

Reproduction:

  • Sexually by seed
  • Blooms mid-July to Labor Day in the North Country.

Propagation:

  • By seed; sown in summer to blossom the following year. Sown at 68ºF, germinates rapidly.
  • Division most successful method.

Cultivation:

  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Full sun or light shade.
    • Almost any well-drained soil; will tolerate poor, dry soil.
    • Spacing: 12"-15"
    • Fertilization
  • Silver grey color a useful contrast with other plants having darker foliage and flowers of brighter hues.
  • Cultivars and species available by mail order from specialty suppliers or at local nurseries
  • Dig up, divide, and replant when overcrowded, usually after 3-4 years.
  • Growth Rate Rapid
    Foliage Texture  Coarse
    Maximum Precipitation (in.) 35
    Adapt Medium Tex Soils Yes
    Minimum Frost Free Days  120
    Cold Stratification Required Yes
    Fertility Requirement Medium
    Minimum pH 6
    Maximum pH 7.5
    Minimum Root Depth (in.) 6

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Last Updated on 26 February, 2004