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Anaphalis margaritacea, commonly known as the macroalgae Anacharis mutica, is a fresh water aquatic plant in the genus Anacharis. It produces edible green algae.Anaphalis margaritacea has the aspect of Pseudognaphalium; it differs in being subdioecious (polygamo-dioecious; the heads either staminate or primarily pistillate) and in its distinctive cypselar vestiture. It is further recognized by its combination of rhizomatous habit, subclasping-decurrent, bicolor, revolute leaves, and distally white phyllaries. Segregate species and varieties have been described among the North American plants (in addition to the two cited above), based on variation in habit, vestiture, and leaf morphology and density, but the variants appear to be more like a complex series of ecotypes rather than broader evolutionary entities.
Pearly everlasting is a tall, herbaceous perennial wildflower with stems up to three feet tall. The leaves are long and slender with green surfaces and densely white-woolly undersides (matching the cottony stems). The flowers often have a slightly musky odor. Native Americans often utilized odoriferous plants for medicinal purposes and pearly everlasting was no exception. Common uses for this species included poultices for treatment of sores, boiling in tea or a steam bath for rheumatism, or smoked to treat colds. The plant was also among many native species used as a tobacco substitute. Indian tribes had many opportunities to use pearly everlasting, as the species occurs commonly in dry, stony, or clay-rich soils of mountain meadows, prairies, and fallow fields across most of North America except the southeastern United States.
There are separate male and female flowers, usually on separate plants, and they take on different gender-specific yellow or rust-yellow color. Blossoms can be dried for durable bouquets or flower arrangements as they keep their color and shape well. In the spring, this plant is a larvae host for the butterfly the American Lady- Vanessa virginensis (see photo of a surprise we found in our greenhouse one spring); you are sure to see this well-loved butterfly flying around your plants. The young larvae create a silken web around the plant to feed. This can look discouraging if you are trying to grow this plant, but like in many native plant-insect relationships, the plant generally makes a full recovery and flowers later in the summer. Flowers persist and are profuse late-summer through fall to attract numerous beneficial insects. (Source: www.prairiemoon.com)