Of about 100 species of everlastings that are found throughout the world, only one is native to North America. Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea, Asteraceae) inhabits much of the continent and can typically be found in prairies, meadows, and in waste spaces along roads, fields, and vacant lots.
This perennial herb grows in small but dense bushes bearing long, narrow leaves that can appear gray-green to off-white. The fuzzy stems terminate in dense clusters of small, yellow composite flowers surrounded by globular white bracts. Flowers begin to appear early in the summer and often persist well into autumn.
This plant is an important host for both larvae and adults of the American lady (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Vanessa virginiensis) and painted lady (V. cardui) butterflies. Humans also appreciate the attractive dried, white flower clusters for use in floral arrangements.