Pearly everlastings bear the genus name of Anaphalis, said to be an ancient Greek name for a similar plant. They are members of the daisy family. Their common name refers to their everlasting quality when dried, and many a farmer's mantelpiece held winter bouquets using this American wildflower.
Description of pearly everlasting: The American species, Anaphalis margaritacea, grows as a wildflower over much of the country. It is 2 feet tall and has slender, pointed leaves that are green on top and gray underneath. Small clusters of 1/4-inch white flowers bloom in the summer. Anaphalis triplinervis comes from the alpine Himalayas. It has silvery gray leaves in the spring that turn green as summer progresses. Flowers bloom in clusters from midsummer until frost. Ease of care: Easy.
Growing pearly everlasting: Both species are easy to grow, adapting to most soil conditions, but Anaphalis triplinervis is not as rangy as A. margaritacea and better for the perennial border. It will also adapt to a moist soil. Plants grow up to 18 inches in height bearing 6-inch leaves of a silvery gray color. Anaphalis margaritacea will grow to 20 inches and is especially valuable in dry situations as it will survive and bloom on dry hillsides. It is also a welcome addition to the wild garden.
Propagating pearly everlasting: By division in spring or fall or by seed.
Uses for pearly everlasting: The gray leaf color adds a welcome change from the greens found in the typical summer garden. In late summer, the plants begin to bloom and bear many clusters of small, white blossoms with petals -- really bracts -- that feel and look like shiny paper. They are easy to dry for winter bouquets. After autumn winds blow away the seeds, only the attractive outer bracts are left.
Scientific name for pearly everlasting: Anaphalis species