Scientific Name: Anaphalis margaritacea
Family: Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Alternate Common Names: Western Pearly Everlasting
Plant Description: Pearly Everlasting has many upright stems that are clumped closely together, giving the plant a mounding appearance. The leaves are up to 10 cm long and 2 cm wide and, like the stems, are covered in numerous small hairs, giving the plant a silvery-green appearance. Numerous, 1 cm wide, yellow flowers enclosed in white bracts can be found blooming at the end of the stems. The seeds are very small and have tufts of white hairs that carry them off in the wind.
In the Garden: Pearly Everlasting is an easy-to-grow plant that reliably thrives in the driest of sites. It is highly valued in gardens for its long bloom time. Caterpillars of the American Lady and Painted Lady butterflies feed on the foliage and will weave the leaves together with silk to create small tents. This is nothing to worry about because it is a sign of life in your garden. Your plant will make a full recovery from the hungry caterpillars.
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Soil Type: Sandy or gravelly soils
Moisture: Dry to medium
Height: 30–100 cm
Spread: 30–60 cm
Bloom Period: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
Fragrant (Y/N): Y (when crushed)
Showy Fruit (Y/N): N
Cut Flower (Y/N): Y – Pearly everlasting makes excellent dried flowers for arrangements. It can also be used for fresh cut flowers
Pests: No serious insect or disease problems, though there is some susceptibility to chewing damage from caterpillars
Natural Habitat: Dry prairies, open woods, roadsides, and waste places
Wildlife Value: Flowers are magnets for pollinators, such as butterflies and bees
Butterfly Larva Host Plant For: Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Moth Larva Host Plant For: Everlasting Tebenna Moth (Tebenna gnaphaliella)
USDA Hardiness Zones: 2–7
Propagation: No pretreatment of seeds necessary, but surface sow as the tiny seeds require light to germinate. Plants may be divided in the spring or started from stem cuttings. Anaphalis margaritacea flowers are dioecious, meaning flowers are either male or female, and only one sex can be found on an individual plant, therefore if you want seeds you will need to have both a male and female plant. Male flowers are ball-like (globular) with many slender, erect yellowish-brown staminate flowers in the yellow centre disc. Female flowers are globular to egg-shaped with a yellowish to dark brown bristly ring around the top of the flower head. Both flowers have numerous tiny white bracts in many layers around the centre. The bracts on the female flowers do not spread out much until the seed starts forming.
Additional Info: Pearly Everlasting flowers, leaves and stems have been used to produce yellow, gold, green and brown natural dyes.
Native Range (shaded area):