Habit: rhizomatous perennial bearing numerous pearly white flower heads at the end of leafy unbranched stems. Its woolly white stems grow 1 to 3 feet tall and are clothed with silver green foliage. Leaves are long, narrow (up to 5 x .8 in) and lance-shaped with a visible mid-vein. Basal leaves are longer and larger. Composite heads of tiny yellowish tubular flowers are clustered at the end of stems. Papery, pearly white involucral bracts are arranged in several overlapping rows around the flower heads. Flowers bloom mid-summer and can last until the first snows of winter. The seeds are small and have fine, straight hairs allowing them to parachute and travel long distances.
Ecology: pearly everlasting is common in low to subalpine elevations and widespread through a variety of ecosystems. It makes its home in rocky mountain, meadows, roadsides, and burned-over forest land. It is present in most states throughout the country, except in North Dakota, and warmer states in the south east. This species can also be found in Canada, Europe and in Asia.
Growing conditions: Anaphalis margaritacea thrives in moist to fairly dry soil and tolerates sand and clay. It is happy in sun or partial shade. Although it is considered a bit troublesome for weed management by some gardeners, this species is an excellent choice for a butterfly garden, dry bank or wildflower meadow. This delicate and fragrant species has been largely enjoyed as a cut flower and in dried bouquets. Its petallike white bracts keep their color after drying and last indefinitely, hence the plants common name, pearly everlasting.