Tuesday, May 05, 2009


ABC Wednesday


P is for Pearly Everlasting and the Painted Butterfly




The Pearly Everlasting, a wildflower which does well on poor soils, but is somewhat toxic to cattle and shunned by them. In addition to the natural aversion to a plant that might have dire consequences, I can imagine the woolly covering on the stems of the Pearly Everlasting would make it somewhat akin to trying to eat cotton batting, and not something a cow would prefer to graze on. The plant has few juices, and hoards what it does have with the help of the soft woolly covering. Not a successful grazing plant....

But adopted as a perennial in borders or cutting gardens it is a gem.

The Pearly Everlasting grows about two feet tall, and spreads liberally. I can attest to that, having enjoyed it in the garden, but found it required constant vigilance to keep it in its place.

The silvery grey leaves lend a quietness to the garden border, and the clusters of
small papery white flowers with egg yolk yellow centres make a welcome addition to a dried bouquet. They should be picked for drying before the yellow centres are visible, to prevent them from fluffing out later.

If the cow disdains the Pearl the Painted Butterfly adores it, and makes it her host plant for laying eggs in the early summer. As the larvae emerge they feed on the foliage, but as the summer advances the foliage renews itself and there is little damage.





And it has such a romantic name......

10 comments:

Barb said...

Your Painted Lady is beautiful! So glad she loves the Pearly Everlasting.

Mara said...

Painted Lady does have some associations other than butterflies for me, but that is a beautiful example anyway.

Marie Reed said...

I had no idea that this was the preferred plant for painted lady butterfly egg laying! I'm in the KNOW now! Thank you:)

photowannabe said...

Fascinating. That's what I love about blogging. There is so much to be learned with every post.

Joy said...

Butterflys and flowers what more could you want. Thanks for the great Django in the previous post.

Jay said...

I've never seen the Pearly Everlasting before, but the butterfly looks just like our own 'Painted Lady' butterfly. Good shot, too!

spacedlaw said...

It does! A great choice for P.

Fonnell/Grammie/mom said...

My favorite use for pretty pearly Everlasting is for dye material. You get some lovely colors and I keep some hanging in the garage year around. I just avoid them once they are dry as it makes me sneeze and sneeze. Loved your post!

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you all for kind comments.

And Fonnell, I didn't know that Pearly Everlasting was a dye plant... I must go and look it up - does it give interesting colours?

Thank you for telling me....

Pamposh Dhar said...

Oh, what lovely pictures. I thought the Pearly Everlasting was beautiful, and then I scrolled down and saw the butterfly! Thanks for a lovely post.

Pamposh of the ABC Team