Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Anaphalis margaritacea, Western Pearly Everlasting

Western Pearly Everlasting flower heads are in flat-topped clusters, the flowering stalk branching from upper stems in cymose panicles. The disk florets are surrounded by tiny pearly white bracts or phyllaries. Anaphalis margaritacea Western Pearly Everlasting has showy “pearly” white flowers that turn yellow or brownish. This species blooms from July to October and benefits from southwester U.S. monsoon rain. Note the tiny insect in the lower left side of the photo. Anaphalis margaritacea Western Pearly Everlasting is a native perennial sub-shrub that grows up to 3 feet tall. Anaphalis margaritacea Western Pearly Everlasting leaves are dark green to gray-green above and woolly white under. They are 3 to 5 inches or so, alternate, linear and revolute with entire margins. Anaphalis margaritacea

Scientific Name: Anaphalis margaritacea
Common Name: Western Pearly Everlasting

Also Called: Common Pearleverlasting, Common Pearly Everlasting, Pearly Everlasting; French; Anaphale Perlée, Immortelle Blanche, Anaphale Marguerite (French)

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Anaphalis lanata, Anaphalis margaritacea var. angustior, Anaphalis m. var. intercedens, Anaphalis m. var. occidentalis, Anaphalis m. var. revoluta, Anaphalis m. var. subalpina, Anaphalis occidentalis, Antennaria margaritacea, Gnaphalium margaritaceum, Nacrea lanata)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: 6 inches up to 36 inches (15-90 cm) tall.

Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect stems, stems white, (tomentose) and becoming rust colored with maturity.

Leaves: Dark green to gray-green above; woolly white (tomentose) under, and green and smooth (glabrous) above; upper or cauline leaves 3 to 5 inches (.11-20 cm); alternating along stems; blades lanceolate, linear or linear-oblong; leaf edges (margins) are smooth (entire) and rolled under (revolute), leaves without supporting stems or stalks (sessile) and sometimes partially or completely surrounding the stem (clasping); the undersides of the leaves are covered in tiny hairs.

Flower Color: Pearly white or yellowish solitary disk flowers only (3 to 25); male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flower heads; female flowers clustered in the axils of upper leaves; flowers in flat-topped corymb; the pearly white flowers are surrounded by tiny pearly white bracts or phyllaries; fruit is a cypsela, somewhat rough to the touch with short hard emergences or hairs (scabrous), the pappus has 10 to 20 barbed white bristles.

Flowering Season: June or July to October, late summer benefits from monsoon rainfall.

Elevation: 4,500 to 8,500 feet (1,300-2,590 m)

Habitat Preferences: Sandy or gravelly soils; various higher elevation habitats, dry prairies, open woods, roadsides, pine forests, uplands, woodlands, sunny openings, and disturbed sites or waste places.

Recorded Range: Anaphalis margaritacea is found throughout most of the United States, Canada, Baja California and northern Mexico. It is absent in the eastern and central southern United States. In Arizona it is found in the north, east and southern parts of the state.

This is also an Asian native species where it is found in China, the Russian Far East, Japan, Korea, northern Indochina, and the Himalayas. This species was introduced in Europe where it was planted as an ornamental, quickly escaped and is now naturalized.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Anaphalis margaritacea.

North America species range map for Anaphalis margaritacea:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for Anaphalis margaritacea: Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown

Wetland Indicator: In North America Anaphalis margaritacea has the following wetland designations: Alaska, UPL; Arid West, FACU; Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, UPL; Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, UPL; Great Plains, FACU; Midwest, FACU; Northcentral & Northeast, FACU; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACU.
UPL = Obligate Upland, almost never occur in wetlands
FACU = Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands.

Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

Genus Information: In North America there is 1species and 1 accepted taxa overall for Anaphalis. World wide, The Plant List includes 113 accepted species names and includes a further 110 of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah each have the species. All data approximate and subject to revision.

The genus Anaphalis was published by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1837.

Comments: Western Pearly Everlasting is a high elevation attractive conspicuous showy plant. It is not a desert species but might be encountered. It is a whitish wooly looking perennial native to most of North America. It has been cultured as an ornamental both in the United States and Europe, where it is now naturalized.

The persisting "flowers" are actually dried pearly white bracts or phyllaries that surround the numerous yellow or brownish disk flowers, making it a natural for artificial flower arrangements.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Seeds of Anaphalis margaritaceae may likely be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Western Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritaceae, attracts a host of insects including butterflies and possibly bees and other small insects.

  • American Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa virginiensis, the leaves are host to their caterpillars.
  • Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui, the leaves are host to their caterpillars.
  • Pine White, Neophasia menapia, lone sighting; individual feeding on Anaphalis margaritacea

  • To find out more about Butterflies and Moths of North America visit BAMONA.

    The genus Anaphalis (Anaph'alis:) is from the Greek name of a similar plant. The genus Anaphalis was published by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1837.

    The species epithet "margaritacea" (margarita'cea:) is from the Latin margarita, "a pearl," hence pertaining to pearls, pearly.

    Western Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritaceae, is, and has been used for a multitude of medicinal, protection and personal purposes by indigenous peoples across the United States.
  • Algonquin, Tete-de-Boule Drug, Burn Dressing; Poultice of boiled leaves applied to burns.
  • Anticosti Food, Beverage; Flowers used to scent alcohol.
  • Bella Coola Drug, Tuberculosis Remedy; Plants formerly used for tuberculosis.
  • Cherokee Drug, Analgesic; Infusion steamed and inhaled for headache.
  • Cherokee Drug, Cold Remedy; Warm infusion taken for cold and leaves smoked or chewed for colds.
  • Cherokee Drug, Eye Medicine; Infusion steamed and inhaled for blindness caused by the sun.
  • Cherokee Other, Smoke Plant; Dried leaves used as a substitute for chewing tobacco.
  • Cheyenne Drug, Ceremonial Medicine; Powdered flowers chewed and rubbed on body to protect and strengthen warrior
  • Cheyenne Drug, Disinfectant; Smoke used to purify gift made to the spirits.
  • Cheyenne Drug, Veterinary Aid; Plant used in various ways to make horses long-winded.
  • Cheyenne Drug, Veterinary Aid; Powdered flowers put on each hoof & blown between the ears for long windedness, spirit & endurance.
  • Cheyenne Other, Ceremonial Items; Leaves burned as incense and used to purify gifts offered to the sun or the spirits
  • Cheyenne Other, Protection; Dried flowers carried or chewed and rubbed on the body as protection from danger before battle
  • Chippewa Drug, Antirheumatic (External); Compound decoction of flowers used as herbal steam for rheumatism and paralysis.
  • Chippewa Drug, Orthopedic Aid; Infusion of flower used as herbal steam for rheumatism and paralysis.
  • Delaware, Oklahoma Drug, Tonic; Compound containing root used as a tonic.
  • Iroquois Drug, Antidiarrheal, Eye Medicine, Gastrointestinal Aid and Respiratory Aid; Roots and stalks used for diarrhea and dysentery; Infusion of plants used as wash for sore eyes; Compound decoction of roots and flowers taken for bruise on back of stomach; Infusion of flowers and roots from another plant used for asthma.
  • Kwakiutl Drug, Dermatological Aid and Internal Medicine; Poultice of flowers applied to sores and swellings; Decoction of flowers taken for internal disorders.
  • Mahuna Drug, Dermatological Aid; Flowers used for skin ulcers and foot sores
  • Mohegan Drug, Cold Remedy; Infusion of leaves taken as a cold medicine.
  • Montagnais Drug, Cough Medicine and Tuberculosis Remedy; Decoction of plant taken for cough; Decoction of plant taken for consumption.
  • Nitinaht Drug, Other; Plants rubbed on the hands to soften them for handling or touching sick people.
  • Okanagan-Colville Drug, Gastrointestinal Aid, Incense & Fragrance; Cooled infusion of roots and shoots taken as a laxative and emetic for a 'poison stomach'; Leaves, stems and flowers placed in baby cradles, pillows or stored clothes for the good smell.
  • Paiute Other, Containers; Branches used to cover baskets filled with berries.
  • Potawatomi Drug, Witchcraft Medicine and Protection; Flowers smoked in a pipe or smudged on coals to repel evil spirits; Dried tops placed on a pan of live coals to hurt the eyes of the evil spirits and keep them away.
  • Quileute Drug, Antirheumatic (Internal); Whole plant used as a steambath for rheumatism
  • Thompson Drug, Misc. Disease Remedy; Decoction of dried flowers taken for rheumatic fever.
  • See full species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 07/02/2012; updated 05/02/2020
    Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, Arizona Flora, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 04/02/2020)
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 05/01/2020).
    Guy L. Nesom 2017. Anaphalis margaritacea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 05, 2017.
    Guy L. Nesom, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae Asteraceae | Anaphalis ; 1. Anaphalis margaritacea (Linnaeus) Bentham & Hooker f., Gen. Pl. 2: 303. 1873.; Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet (accessed 05/02/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Anaphalis margaritacea', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 15 November 2019, 21:21 UTC, [accessed 2 May 2020]
    Seinet Field Guide: Editor; Springer et al. 2008 from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 05/02/2020).
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    Etymology: Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 04/22/2020)