California native plants - California Everlasting - Gnaphalium californicum
California Everlasting is an annual or biennial herb native to the west coast of North America from Washington to Baja California where it is a member of several habitats. This herbaceous native grows 8" - 36" tall producing scented foliage and clusters of small white flowers winter through summer. Seen here growing in the Chaparral of the Santa Monica Mountains, Gnaphalium californicum also grows in the Coastal Sage Scrub, Foothill Woodland, Mixed Evergreen Forest, Central Oak Woodland and the Yellow Pine Forest communities.
This species is considered a pioneer plant that helps to prepare the soil, and aids in the establishment of longer-lived plants in the native landscape. Some Native American tribes have used this species for the treatment of throat and stomach ailments (Foster and Hobbs, 2002). While not recommended, traditional uses include preparation as a tea or smoking the leaves.
California Everlasting may well adapt itself for the home garden in the western coastal states. As a landscape plant its assets include drought tolerance, scented foliage, cut dried flowers and the attraction of the American Painted Lady butterfly as a host plant. Other common names include California Cudweed, Green Everlasting, Ladies' Tobacco and California Rabbit Tobacco.