Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

This curious plant has woolly foliage and flowerheads that resemble those of Antennaria spp. (Pussytoes), Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting), Gamochaeta purpurea. (Early Cudweed), and some other members of the Aster family. Sweet Everlasting is more tall than Pussytoes and Early Cudweed, and its truncate-conical flowerheads are more narrow than the button-like flowerheads of Pearly Everlasting. There are other Pseudognaphalium spp. in the United States that are quite similar in appearance to Sweet Everlasting, but they have not been observed in Illinois. However, some of these species have been found in neighboring Indiana and other states further to the east. Sweet Everlasting's older scientific name is Gnaphalium obtusifolium (by which it is still commonly referred), but it has been reassigned to the genus Pseudognaphalium.
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Description

Sweet Everlasting is occasional to locally common throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include upland prairies, sand prairies, typical savannas and sandy savannas, fallow fields, and areas along railroads and roadsides. Disturbed dry areas with scant vegetation are preferred. Faunal Associations
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Gnaphalium saxicola Fassett:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Gnaphalium obtusifolium var. obtusifolium :
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Gnaphalium obtusifolium var. praecox Fernald:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Gnaphalium obtusifolium L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Global Range: Known solely from Wisconsin Dells area (part of the unglaciated driftless area of Wisconsin).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Annuals or winter annuals (sometimes faintly fragrant), (10–)30–100 cm; taprooted. Stems white-tomentose, sometimes lightly so, usually not glandular, rarely glandular near bases. Leaf blades linear-lanceolate to elliptic or oblanceolate, 2.5–10 cm × 2–10 mm (relatively even-sized), bases not clasping, not decurrent, margins flat, faces bicolor, abaxial white-tomentose, adaxial green, usually glabrous or slightly glandular, sometimes with persistent light tomentum. Heads in corymbiform (sometimes rounded to elongate) arrays. Involucres broadly campanulate, 5–7 mm. Phyllaries in 4–6 series, white (opaque, usually shiny, sometimes dull), ovate to ovate-oblong, glabrous or tomentose (bases). Pistillate florets 38–96. Bisexual florets 4–8(–11). Cypselae ridged, smooth.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Gnaphalium obtusifolium Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 851. 1753; G. obtusifolium var. praecox Fernald
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Dry, sandstone cliff ledges.

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Sweet Everlasting in Illinois

Gnaphalium obtusifolium (Sweet Everlasting)
(Also referred to as Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium; most short-tongued bees suck nectar, otherwise they suck nectar & collect pollen; other insects suck nectar; all observations are from Robertson, except for observations from Moure & Hurd and Swengel & Swengel as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella aurata sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Halictus confusus sn, Halictus ligatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum imitatus sn, Lasioglossum obscurus sn, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus (MH), Lasioglossum versatus sn fq, Paralictus platyparius sn; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes americana sn; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena simplex sn

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Ectemnius atriceps, Ectemnius rufipes, Ectemnius trifasciatus, Lestica confluentus, Oxybelus mexicanus; Sphecidae (Larrinae): Ancistromma distincta; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris clypeata, Cerceris compacta, Cerceris finitima, Eucerceris fulvipes; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi, Ammophila pictipennis, Eremnophila aureonotata; Vespidae: Polistes annularis, Polistes fuscata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus annulatus, Euodynerus boscii, Stenodynerus ammonia fq, Stenodynerus anormis, Stenodynerus histrionalis, Stenodynerus oculeus; Pompilidae: Anoplius americanus, Anoplius lepidus, Anoplius marginatus, Evagetes parvus; Chrysididae: Ceratochrysis perpulchra, Chrysis venusta, Holopyga ventrale; Ichneumonidae: Metopius pollinctorius; Braconidae: Chelonus sericeus

Flies
Syrphidae: Paragus tibialis, Syritta pipiens; Conopidae: Thecophora occidensis; Tachinidae: Chetogena claripennis, Copecrypta ruficauda, Cylindromyia fumipennis, Distichona varia, Gymnosoma fuliginosum, Lespesia archippivora, Medina barbata, Paradidyma singularis, Plagiomima spinosula, Siphosturmia phyciodis, Spallanzania hesperidarum; Sarcophagidae: Amobia aurifrons, Helicobia rapax fq, Ravinia anxia, Senotainia rubriventris; Calliphoridae: Cochliomyia macellaria, Lucilia illustris, Lucilia sericata; Muscidae: Musca domestica, Neomyia cornicina

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Phyciodes tharos; Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Sw)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Atalopedes campestris

Moths
Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis

Beetles
Cantharidae: Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: S2 in WI (1986).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T2 - Imperiled

Reasons: Endemic to the dry, sandstone cliff ledges in the Wisconsin Dells area, its habitat is threatened by intensive human use.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

Comments: Area receives intensive human-use.

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Research needed on taxonomic status.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun, mesic to dry conditions, and a friable soil containing sand or silt. A little shade is tolerated. The seeds require light to germinate.
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Wikipedia

Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium

Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium (formerly Gnaphalium obtusifolium) is a member of the Asteraceae family. Annual herb to one meter, stem white-tomentose, involucres 5–7 millimetres (0.20–0.28 in) long, cream colored or brown, with cream-colored flower heads. Leaves opposite, lance-linear, sesile, tomentose below and olive green above.

P. obtusifolium is found on open dry sandy habitat throughout Eastern North America. Common names include old field balsam, rabbit tobacco and sweet everlasting. When crushed, the plant exudes a characteristic maple syrup scent.

References[edit source | edit]

  • Clemants, Steve and Gracie, Carol Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States Oxford University Press 2006. 294:5
  • Yatskievych, Kay Field Guide to Indiana Wildflowers Indiana University Press 2000. 229:1149
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: May be a cliff ecotype; treated by Kartesz (1999) as Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium ssp. saxicola.

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Comments: Kartesz (1999) recognizes Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium.

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