Simply the Best Natives-Pearly Everlasting


“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”   ~John Muir


I am continuing my dreaming in the garden as the snow flies.  Last year I had a couple of plant profile series; Simply The Best Herbs and Wildflower Tales (the list of each series will be soon on the sidebar).  As part of my word for the year, thrive, I am continuing my profile and planting of native plants in my garden.  So I decided to combine these two series into one called, Simply The Best Natives.

I will profile a native plant I already have or want in my garden.  These favorite natives will be divided or added to the obj1512geo823pg2p10garden once I have my plans in place.  But of course that will be later this year or next year.  I am joining forces with a local native plant nursery I really like, Amanda’s Garden, to purchase plants I am adding to my garden.  The owner is Ellen Folts.  Here is how Ellen describes her nursery:

Amanda’s Garden is Located in Springwater New York. We specialize in woodland native perennials. We also carry some prairie and wetland plants and we are expanding our line.  Springwater is in the Finger Lakes of Western NY, south of beautiful Hemlock Lake.

Now doesn’t that sound lovely.  I think it is important to support our local native plant nurseries as they are growing plants that are found locally.  Besides we help ourselves when we support our local businesses.

I have ordered plants from Ellen before and have been pleased with what I have received.  But I have never had a chance to visit.  I am looking forward to a visit this year.  Ellen has a Spring Wildflower weekend in early May so you can see the wildflowers in bloom.  Sounds like a road trip in May.  If you live nearby, consider making a trip to the nursery in early May.  And of course you can get all the latest goings on by liking Amanda’s Garden Native Perennial Nursery page on Facebook.


IMG_3655The first plant in this series is a most unusual plant that actually flowers in late summer, Pearly Everlasting.  Don’t you just love the name.  Also known as Western Pearly Everlasting and Moonshine, Anaphalis margaritacea is part of the  Aster/Daisy/Sunflower Family (Asteraceae).

The unusual name for this native perennial comes from the fact that the flowers can be dried and preserved lasting a long time.  Pearly refers to the white bracts of the flowers, and the Greek word, margaritacea, which means ‘pearl-like’.


As I profile this plant, I will be linking in with Gail@Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday meme.



Growing Conditions

Pearly Everlasting can tolerate a variety of growing conditions.  Ideally it likes dry, sunny conditions in sandy soil.  But it will grow inIMG_3656 part shade in moist soil, even clay or amended clay soil, as long as it is dry or well draining.  They grow between 1 to 3 feet clumping together.  I have mine growing in the white garden under an ash tree where they get dry part shade.

The narrow gray-green leaves appear to have a woolly-white coating. The flowers appear in late summer as round balls with papery white dry bracts growing around a yellow center when they open.  They have a slight musky fragrance.  And once the seeds dry they blow away on the wind.

This plant will die to the ground each year.  The best way to propagate it is by division.  It has no disease or pest issues and is deer resistant.  Doesn’t it sound like the perfect plant.



Benefits to Wildlife

IMG_8628One of the great benefits of planting Pearly Everlasting is that it is  an important nectar and larval plant for Painted Lady butterflies and Skippers.

Both American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies depend on this plant to live.  American Painted Ladies make nests out of the leaves.

I don’t recall seeing these butterflies in my garden, but I hope to grow more Pearly Everlasting throughout the garden in clumps and maybe entice the Lady butterflies to make a home here.



Where Are They Found

There are  over 100 species of Anaphalis native to parts of northeast Asia and introduced in Europe.  But there is only IMG_4014one (A. margaritacea) that is native to North America.  You can find Pearly Everlasting in Canada and most of the United States except for those states bordering the Gulf of Mexico.

Look for it in its natural habitat of dry prairies and hillsides, open woods, moist meadows, fields, roadsides and disturbed sites.  




IMG_0305The flowers of Pearly Everlasting are perfect for drying and look great in floral arrangements.  If you want longer lasting flowers, pick them before the yellow centers fade.  

The leaves and growth of young plants are edible when cooked.

You can chew the flowers to keep your mouth moist if you find this plant while out in nature.

The leaves, flowers and stems have also been used as incense.



Folklore and Tales

Because Pearly Everlasting was so readily found, many Native Americans used the plant medicinally.  Common uses IMG_4291included poultices for sores, boiling in tea for rheumatism, and headaches or smoked to treat colds.  And tribes used it as a tobacco substitute. 

The Chumash tribe smoked both leaves and flowers as an appetite suppressant especially the young adults of the tribe during famine to allow the food to go to the children and elders.

Pearly Everlasting was used as a salve for burns in folk medicine.

In the Language of Flowers it means “I think of thee” or “always remembered”.  This is certainly a flower you will not forget.


So are you planting any native plants this year?  Do you have a favorite native plant nursery nearby where you purchase your plants?


“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  ~ Harriet Tubman



I wanted to let folks know why I have been so far behind my reading and commenting on all your wonderful blogs.  Since the New Year, I have had some health issues that have taken me out of work for several days each week, and kept me from doing too much on the computer.  It is nothing life threatening, but I am trying to regain my health and have had to do nothing much but rest.  I hope to get back to your blogs more in February.  Thank you for your continued support here at Gardens Eye View!


Next up on the blog:  Next Monday will be time for a Gardens Eye Journal post where I will unveil this year’s vegetable garden plans.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my latest post.

I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.sharethelove

I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.



93 Replies to “Simply the Best Natives-Pearly Everlasting”

  1. I love your plant profiles. I have been thinking about trying to do something similar – in a more organized way than I have in the past. Isn’t it wonderful to live near a good native plant nursery? I am not far from Nasami Farm which is the propagating arm of the New England Wildflower Society.

    1. Oh I am glad you enjoy the plant series I have done Pat. I learn so much from reading plant profiles and writing mine. How lucky too for you to be so close to Nasami Farm.

  2. I had never heard of this plant before, but that is what I like about Gail’s Wildflower Wednesdays–I always learn something new! I used to have a lot of painted ladies visit my garden, but they have been scarce the last few years. Perhaps a few of these natives would bring them back.

    Hope you are feeling better soon, Donna!

  3. I love the things you teach about these plants….like if found in the wild the flowers can be chewed for a dry mouth. Wonderful to learn things like this!

  4. That is a beautiful shot at the top of your post, the closeup of the flowers. This is one of the few North American natives that actually grows all over the continent, not just east of the Rockies. There are very few (if any) online native nurseries that cater to the very different set of natives that we have here in the PNW or west of the Rockies. Places like Prairie Nursery or Prairie Moon tend to concentrate on natives from the East and the Midwest.

    1. I agree Alison. The PNW has unique natives that most nurseries do not grow. I hope there are some up there that will provide more of these lovelies to folks in the PNW.

      Glad you liked the post. I hope to collect seed in the coming years and perhaps give some away to folks who want them with instructions for propagation. This plant will be one of those I will collect seed from.

      1. Donna, I would love to have some of these beautiful natives. They are so sweet and they seem easy enough to take care of. Thank you for offering to share them with me. I just read where you are retiring the end of the month. Congratulations! Hope you are getting stronger each day.

        1. Remind me Sue in late spring so once it emerges I can get some divisions and pot them up for you. Perhaps you might make a visit down and I could also make a trip up. Thanks for the congrats…I am getting better every day!!

  5. Do take care of yourself Donna. Our good health is the most important gift we have. I hope you are feeling stronger soon. Take all the rest you need.

    1. Thank you so much Christina. I tend to agree. And because my health is most important to me, I am retiring at the end of this month. I am looking forward to it!!

  6. Hello Donna
    I grow pearly-everlasting in heavy clay and believe it or not, it travels pretty good in this soil. Of course, it’s easy enough to pull out the runner to keep it in a nice clump. When I was the gardener at our local Wellness Clinic I put in a native flower bed, including this native. I swear within a day or two an American painted lady found the patch and laid eggs. She must have been ready and in the right place at the right time.
    Great article! Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    1. Judith I hope to observe more this year and maybe I will see the Ladies. I also need to move some of Pearly to a bit more sun. They will look wonderful in so many areas of the garden. Mine seems to be growing in clay too and I know I planted one clump and now have 2 so it must be moving as well. Glad to hear of your success with Pearly!!

  7. I always enjoy your native plant posts Donna, and this one is particularly of interest to me because I just planted a first pearly everlasting last year. I get Red Admiral butterflies which I am hoping will use this plant and I do get skippers too.

    1. Do let me know Patty as I love to learn how others with the same plant are getting along with it….so glad you enjoy these posts!!

  8. I love the idea of growing local plant life and supporting the local nursery. I wish my local gardener wasn’t so darn expensive though! I do buy some things from them, but not all. I wish you well with your Pearly Everlasting!

  9. Get well soon Donna! I hope you will be feeling better in time for the gardening season. The pearly everlasting are very pretty flowers and foliage too – I think I’ve seen similar ones here, but will have to look out this year.
    I have heard of another plant that supposedly suppresses thirst… can’t remember what it was though! Fascinating information. Thanks!

  10. I was enthused, until I read that it doesn’t grow in the states bordering the Gulf. Sigh. But there are plenty of natives that do well here, and I am just beginning to learn about them and to seek them out. There is a native aster here that does very well.

    1. How exciting Deborah that you are seeking out some of your natives. I look forward to hearing more about them since some will be new to me!!

    1. Oh thanks so much Deborah!! Hugs to you. How is your recovery. I do hope all is well since your surgery a while ago and you will be in tip top form for the gardening season!

  11. It’s definitely an interesting plant, Donna. And it’s one that I’ve found easy to remember because its name fits its appearance. I learned lots of new things about this native perennial from your post. Thanks!

    1. I agree Beth…its name fits the appearance of the plant/flower. So happy you enjoyed the post and learned something new!!

  12. Yes, I planted lot last year and the trend will continue. I have my favorite wild-flower nursery — or shall I say husband/wife/and their 3 yr old son. They do all these out of their loves for conservation, animals, environment, native plants — so buying plants from them and helping them is more delightful. Their nursery is Wild Ridge Nursery in NJ.

    Seems like we also have to make that trip in May :-). Another news of lovely plant you posted.

    1. Your local native growers sound delightful and how lucky to have found them. let me know if you come up this way. If nothing comes up we plant to go as well.

  13. hope that in time, this year will be kind to you, and you can find a comfortable pace and load. Be well.
    Still dreaming of discovering a good ‘native plant nursery’ once we sell the house and start fresh.

    1. I still am featuring these plants for you Diana!! Thank you for your kind words. I have decided to retire at the end of this month and then take it easy for a while just doing the things I love.

    1. Anni how splendid….I too love the Native American tales, folklore and healing remedies. They certainly knew how to utilize the plants growing around them.

  14. I love Amanda’s and have also ordered from them – Flowering Raspberry, Wild Ginger, and a few others. All plants are doing extremely well! I would love to visit but May is going to be the busiest month of the year for me with the annual artists’ studio tour and my new job as gardener at Thousand Islands Park. Perhaps in the Fall. I also enjoy their newsletter which you can sign up for at their web site. This year I am definitely ordering Spikenard. It is at the top of my list although I’m sure I’ll order much, much more, ha ha. I always hear good things about Pearly Everlasting and even think I planted this as a very young gardener but it doesn’t speak to me now – maybe when I finish designing my “Riverfront” (front yard). I love reading about the name origins and folklore!

    1. Wow what a great new job Kathy…I will have to visit the park now!! Love to take a trip in the fall and I bet Ellen would give us a private tour if we asked. If you want some pearly let me know….I will certainly divide a plant for you!!

  15. Take good care of yourself Donna, rest well and dream of your garden. Is anyone pushing this plant as an appetite suppressant? There is such an obsession with weight loss, you would think somebody would have sought to use it. Like your link up to a local nursery, it is a sadness to me that we don’t have any on the Island any more, the last shut down last year.

    1. I have not heard anyone using the plant as such Janet. Sad to hear your local nursery shut down. We have a local nurseries nearby that I will buy annuals from, but most are not organic or specialize in natives. I am retiring at the end of the month so I hope to take it easy soon.

  16. Hi Donna, I hope that you are feeling better each day, and fully recovered soon.

    You’ve put together another informative blog post. I’m pretty sure that I have seen these growing up at the’s very sandy there, so they must like it.

    Maybe I need to look for some for my garden here.


    1. Absolutely Jen look for them and add them to your garden. I am feeling better and with retirement coming soon, I will be feeling even better.

  17. I do love the name. I have it growing in my garden, but I did not plant it. I love that it made a home here. I am sorry you have been ill and wish you better health.

  18. I don’t think I’ve seen this plant before, it’s very pretty! It looks like it would smell good 🙂
    We have a native nursery nearby called Tadpole Haven and I still haven’t visited it yet because they don’t have very many hours open to the public.
    Hope you are getting better!

  19. First of all, Donna, I’m so sorry you haven’t been well in January. I will send good wishes to you for a much better February!

    Secondly, the Pearly Everlasting is a plant I’ve never heard of…or even seen before, that I know of. OMG. I have totally fallen in love with it, not only for what it looks like, but for what it would look like dried (I love dried flowers!) and for all its uses. To know it suppresses the appetite is incredible…particularly in the case of famine. What a great post on the power of one plant!

    1. How lovely Ginnie that you love this plant and you are just seeing it for the first time. I am feeling better and hope to take it much easier soon.

  20. Pearly Everlasting sounds like the perfect plant! I haven’t heard about it before but I think it could do well at the bottom of my garden where I have my woodland corner – perhaps with a small shovel of sand mixed in with the ericaceous soil down there..
    I hope you are feeling better soon, take care, Helene.

  21. Dear Donna,
    Thank you for the very interesting lesson about this beautiful flower with this divine name!!! I never have seen or heard from this wonderful native plant, too…perhaps because I live in Germany 🙂
    Beautiful post and really lovely pictures!!!
    Enjoy a good day 🙂

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment and I am so happy to have you visit from beautiful Germany! It is great fun to learn about the plants from different parts of the world!!

  22. I’ve seen these flowers used as dried flowers and they’re so interesting and artistically cool, they almost look fake. It’s when you realize they’re real, that they become even more intriguing. I hope they grow well for you and that you’re feeling better!

  23. I’ve wanted to grow this plant but always thought it wanted full sun. Now that you say it takes part shade and moist soil I may give it a try.

  24. I do love the name, Pearly Everlasting … it inspires poetry. What a pretty flower, and the nursery in the Finger Lakes sounds lovely. Hope you’re keeping warm, Donna. Still freezing here 🙂

  25. So sorry to hear you have not been feeling well, Donna – I hope by now you are on the mend.

    I am really enjoying this series, and making note of the natives you like, because we are close geographically, so I am pretty sure what grows for you will grow for me.

    I am especially interested in natives that help our pollinators thrive, because I fear we are losing some of them. As organic veggie growers, we need these native beneficial species badly. Definitely putting this one on my list!

    1. How wonderful Donalyn…I am so excited to hear you are planting natives. yes most I grow should grow for you too. Do let me know how it goes and what you are planting.

  26. Beautiful Donna, I have certainly seen these growing around here. Thanks for sharing the love up-close with I Heart Macro… I look forward to learning more about Red Fox from you too… feel better.

  27. “except for those states bordering the Gulf of Mexico.” Now I know why I’ve heard of this plant but never seen it! There is a native plant nursery not too far from here (about an hour), and I’ve never been, but already have plans to go there in May. I’ve heard it’s great but very expensive, so I am cautiously hopeful that I will find something there. Donna, I hope you make a swift and full recovery. Health is so very important.

    1. How exciting Holley. Can’t wait to hear about your excursion to the native plant nursery. It is too bad these are not native to TX. Thank you for your lovely caring comment. I am feeling better and ready to retire now at the end of February.

    1. Oh Carolyn how absolutely beautiful that it grows wild in Maine with the Ladies. I must get there soon. I am much better and will be retiring at the end of February which will help as well.

  28. Dear Donna – given your health issues, I thank you even more for your visits 🙂
    wht a lovely plant to feature and most apt for now, given that it can be dried and used for winter displays indoors!

    1. Laura I would not miss your gorgeous creative posts. They bring such joy to me and inspire me to learn more about photography now that I am retiring at the end of the month.

  29. the garden you are dreaming is as lovely
    as the ones I miss right now, while they gather strength
    for the big bloom.
    I can feel the blossoms your heart is holding
    and it makes me warmer.

  30. What a beautiful native plant. We have this in the Pacific Northwest as well. I think everyone needs to know the native plants that surround them. Then we can appreciate what they give us and how we can incorporate them in our gardens. Glad you’re talking about natives!

  31. This is a plant that my grandmother grew and so I added it to my garden. I knew it dried well but not much more about it and so was interested to read your profile.My only minor complaint about it is that it spreads a bit more than I like, but so far I have been able to keep it in check. Mine is in sun.

  32. Wow Jennifer how lovely that this native plant was in your grandmothers garden. Mine is in more shade and so it does not spread, but I will keep that in mind as I move sun to sunnier spots.

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