Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Sweet Everlasting
Gnaphalium obtusifolium
F. Asteraceae
General Description:

Sweet everlasting is a medium-sized plant that measures 30-60 cm. in height and is most easily identified by its cluster of small, white or pale yellow, rayless flowers. The white bloom of the sweet everlasting forms a tightly packed, rounded-cylindrical structure that is arranged in a sparse, branched cluster atop the terminal shoot of a slender, green, cottony stem. Leaves are long, needle-like, and are covered in a whitish down on their underside.

Gnaphalium obtusifolium
Flowers:

The radially symmetrical flowers of the sweet everlasting are small, measuring 6 mm. in width. The white or pale yellow, tapered, overlapping petals are several and form a tightly, packed rounded cylinder that is slightly open at the tip, exposing and dull yellow, bristled anther ring. The bracts are petal-like and contribute to the cylindrical structure of the bloom. Flowers are arranged in sparse, branched clusters atop the terminal shoot.

Fruit:

Leaves:

The stalkless leaves can grow long, averaging 2.5-10 cm. in length, are needle-like, have a prominent crease down the midvein, and are covered with a sparse, white down on their underside. These leaves are several and arranged along the length of the stem.

Habitat:

Sweet everlasting grows best in dry conditions including clearings, fields, and along the edges of wooded areas.

Fun Facts:

In Greek, the genus epithet of sweet everlasting's scientific name means"tuft of wool" and refers to the wooly down present on the underside of its leaves

This wildflower is a popular component of dried flower arrangements because its robust flowers and delicate appearance make it both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

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