Freely surculose by long, slender, sparsely-leafy stolons, lightly woolly. Stems: bearing numerous racemosely-disposed heads. Leaves: broadly oval, acute at each end, densely tomentose beneath, green and glabrous above; involucre campanulate; bracts green. Flowers: staminate and pistillate heads white-tipped.
Every traveller will recognize the Everlastings at a glance, with their dry, crackling little flowers and partially, if not entirely, silky whitish leaves; the only difficulty lies in deciding to what species any particular plant belongs.
The easiest way to distinguish the White Everlasting is by the loose separate fashion in which its flower-heads grow, just a few on each little stalk and none of them bunched together.
Antennaria Howellii, or Mouse-ear Everlasting, differs from the preceding species in having very closely clustered flower-heads and much more silky leaves.. The leaves of both these plants are woolly and white underneath and smooth and green on the top. The fertile plants are taller than the sterile plants, and the little heads of fertile florets are set in green cups, their snow-white silky tufts gleaming in the sunshine, while the staminate florets have rounder, whiter scales.
Antennaria parvifolia, or Mountain Everlasting, has leaves that are white and woolly on both sides, and its florets are perfectly round in shape.
Antennaria lanata, or Arctic Everlasting, is a dwarf species growing close to perpetual snow, and is found at the great altitude of 8000 feet. It has very white and woolly stalks and many tiny leaves which are white and woolly also.
This plant somewhat resembles the Edelweiss of the Alps, and is the nearest approach to that famous flower to be found on this continent. The name Antennaria refers to the long brown anthers, which resemble the antennae of some insect.
Antennaria pidcherrima, or Tall Everlasting, is white-woolly throughout. The leaves are narrow spatulate pointed and nerved, while the flower heads are numerous in a close capitate cluster, the outer bracts of the involucre being straw-coloured rounded and often notched at the apex, and the inner ones white.
Antennaria alpina, or Alpine Everlasting, has woolly stems, a number of spatulate tufted basal leaves which are silvery-woolly on both sides and a few small stem leaves. The flower heads grow in a terminal cluster and the bracts of the fertile ones are brownish-green, those of the sterile ones being lighter and broader.
Antennaria media, or Silky Everlasting, is a very silky-woolly plant with stems from one to six inches high. The radical leaves are obovate and the cauline ones narrow. The flower heads are few, the pistillate ones grow in a close cluster, while the staminate ones are panicled and have bracts with scarious white tips.