Anaphalis margaritacea – November 2012

Ana mar 1Anaphalis margaritacea, or western Pearly Everlasting, is a member of the Aster family and is the only species of Anaphalis native to North America.  A highly successful species, Pearly Everlasting is native to all parts of North America barring the areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico.  Caution must be taken in the garden, in fact many gardeners consider it weedy, as it self sows freely.  However, in the right location, Anaphalis margaritacea is virtually unmatched in its ability to thrive in tough spots.  Best if left neglected in full sun, Pearly Everlasting is an excellent butterfly attractor for the wildflower meadow or dry bank.  In addition it is a food source for Painted lady butterflies as well as a larval host for multiple species of butterfly.  This deer resistant rhizomatous perennial grows up to 3 feet tall with narrow alternate leaves and clusters of numerous small yellow flowers with whorls of white bracts.  Befitting its name, the flowers persist from June all the way through October on dry brittle stems, and are excellent for use in floral arrangements.  Anaphalis margaritacea has many ethnobotanical uses and was used by native peoples throughout North America to treat dysentery, pulmonary affections, on burns, sores or swelling, and its roots were used as a laxative.

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