Sweet everlasting

Sweet everlastingI 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 . . .

Sweet everlasting. . . 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:

Sweet everlastingI 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.

Sweet everlastingAnd this is the same bunch spread out to dry on the table.

Sweet everlastingI 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?

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