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immortelle(ĭm'ôrtĕl`), names for numerous plants characterized by papery or chaffy flowers that retain their form and often their color when dried and are used for winter bouquets and decorations. Everlastings are usually cut before fully mature and hung head downward to dry in an area away from direct light (to prevent bleaching). Many of the more popular everlastings are of the family Asteraceae (asteraster
[Gr.,=star], common name for the Asteraceae (Compositae), the aster family, in North America, name for plants of the genus Aster, sometimes called wild asters, and for a related plant more correctly called China aster (Callistephus chinensis
..... Click the link for more information. family), e.g., the strawflowerstrawflower,
garden annual (Helichrysum bracteatum) of the family Asteraceae (aster family), a favorite as an everlasting but also grown for its fresh flowers. The plant is native to Australia.
..... Click the link for more information. , pearly everlasting (Anaphalis), winged everlasting (Ammobium), pussy toes (Antennaria), common immortelle (Xeranthemum), and species of Helipterum; the cockscomb and globe amaranthamaranth
[Gr.,=unfading], common name for the Amaranthaceae (also commonly known as the pigweed family), a family of herbs, trees, and vines of warm regions, especially in the Americas and Africa.
..... Click the link for more information. and the thrift (see leadwortleadwort
, common name for the Plumbaginaceae, a family of perennial herbs and shrubs usually found in semiarid regions, especially of the Mediterranean area and Central Asia. Several species—e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. ) are also used. Several grasses, the bittersweetbittersweet,
name for two unrelated plants, belonging to different families, both fall-fruiting woody vines sometimes cultivated for their decorative scarlet berries. One, called also woody nightshade (Solanum dulcamara
..... Click the link for more information. , and other plants are used as everlastings for their ornamental dried fruits.
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Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005