I found this plant last year by the stone blessing circle . . . and could not figure out what it was. This year I am seeing this plant all over the place and, with my improved plant identification skills and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers, I figured out this is sweet everlasting (Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium). Sounds like such a cool plant, doesn’t it? The white blossoms intrigue me . . .
. . . and today I discovered its lovely scent as I stroked the leaves. As part of my confirmation process that I have the correct name for a plant, I look in some other plant identification books. Both Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide and A Field Guide to Wildflowers (Peterson’s) state that sweet everlasting may also be called catfoot. When I checked for possible medicinal or edible qualities, I first looked in A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs (Peterson’s). This book indicated it is a medicinal plant which is also called rabbit tobacco. What??!! Rabbit tobacco is mentioned repeatedly in Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians and several recipes in the book include rabbit tobacco. I have wondered if there might be rabbit tobacco around and I hoped so because it sounds like a great plant for helping with sore throats, etc.
Now I know that I do have rabbit tobacco, a biennial, which is all over the place this year. Just check out the large patch of it around the fire circle:
I immediately started harvesting the rabbit tobacco (sweet everlasting) from all the parts of the yard which still need mowing (once again, I’m so glad I got behind on mowing this summer). Here’s the large bunch I gathered. I’m leaving the fire circle patch for another day.
I am thrilled to discover this plant is called sweet everlasting and rabbit tobacco, to revel in its fragrance, to know I have an abundance of it this year, and to begin harvesting for medicinal use. Can you tell how excited I am?