Latin Derivation: Anaphalis (genus) - from the original Greek name for similar plant; margaritacea (species)-from the Latin margarita, “pearl” hence “pearl like.”
Characteristics of this Family (Asteraceae or Sunflower Family): In the Bay Area, the Asteraceae family has more species than any other family of flowering plants. Sepals are absent, sometimes replaced by a structure of hairs and scales called a pappus. Small dry fruit develops below the pappus containing a single seed that is dispersed by wind or animals. Each head consists of several flowers attached to a disk shaped, conical, or concave receptacle.
Characteristics of this Plant: White, papery bracts with yellow-to-red flowers in the center. The flower bracts dry and remain on the stem until late fall. Blooms in June-September (or longer). Leaves are shiny and bright to dark green; they are narrow, 3–4 inches long. Grows to be 3–5 feet tall, stems are unbrached, and fruits are very small and roughened.
Habitat: Along dry trails and throughout open areas and woods.
Interesting Information: Grows in colonies of a dozen or more plants arising off parallel woody root systems. Often seeds in after a fire. Can be grown by rhizome.
Ethnobotanical Information: Can be used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory and astringent. Can be used as a tea for gastric disturbances, as a poultice for bruises and contusions and has been fried and cured for Native American smoking mixtures.