Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium (Sweet Everlasting)

Plant Info
Also known as: Cat-foot, Rabbit-tobacco, Fragrant Cudweed
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
Habitat:sun; sandy soil, dry prairies, roadsides
Bloom season:July - October
Plant height:6 to 30 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Numerous small clusters of ¼-inch bud-like flowers on many branching stems in the upper part of the plant. What appears to be several layers of many tiny white petals on the egg-shaped flower are actually bracts; the disc flower parts are indistinct, seen at the tip and are yellow to brownish. The bracts spread out and fall off as the seed ripens.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are narrow, 1 to 3 inches long and to 1/3 inch wide, woolly underneath, sometimes sparsely hairy on the upper surface becoming hairless with age, toothless, typically wavy around the edges, with a blunt tip and no leaf stalk. Stems are covered in white woolly hair.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a dry seed with a tuft of light brown hair to carry it off in the wind.


Sweet Everlasting flower heads resemble Pussytoes (Antennaria spp.), which bloom in spring. Another similar species is Clammy Cudweed (Pseudognaphalium macounii), which has broader, clasping leaves and is found only in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) is also similar, but has more globular flower heads with more distinct central flower parts, and are in more flat-topped clusters. Latin name Gnaphalium obtusifolium is used for Sweet Everlasting in some references, such as the Newcomb and Peterson field guides, but is now outdated.

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More photos

Photos taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, Battle Creek Regional Park, Ramsey County, and Hastings Sand Coulee SNA, Dakota County


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Cathy - North Saint Paul
on: 2011-09-10 22:41:18

This plant is in Southwood Nature Preserve.

Posted by: Kristi - Northern Hubbard County
on: 2014-09-13 17:32:24

We saw both pearly everlasting and sweet everlasting blooming in a clear-cut across the road from our cabin today (13 Sept. 2014). The soil is very sandy; it's a sunny, dry location, not near a roadside.

Posted by: Brett W - Otsego
on: 2014-12-31 16:42:35

There are a few of these flowes in Uncas Dunes SNA. Had them identified as Pearly Everlasting but found this today! Thanks for your site!

Posted by: Pat W - Pillager area
on: 2016-01-21 15:48:08

Found one plant in my yard area this fall. Not too showy but interesting by itself. Will collect seeds and try germinating more.

Posted by: Tom M. - otsego
on: 2016-08-06 20:16:50

The description of this plant is missing its most obvious aspect: Its smell! The flowers of sweet everlasting has a distinct "maple syrupy" smell when crushed or bruised whereas pearly everlasting has no smell.

Posted by: Alan - Hubbard County, Nevis area
on: 2016-09-05 15:48:02

Have always had pearly everlasting on our property, but this is the first I've noticed the sweet everlasting.

Posted by: Cathy - Minneapolis suburb
on: 2017-08-13 21:12:44

Plant volunteered in my walkway flower garden, and I kept it to see what would develop.

Posted by: gary - Carlton County and St. Louis County
on: 2020-09-07 18:15:14

A few plants came up at the edge of a plowed field at my home in Carlton County many years ago. They persisted but haven't been seen in decades. I also saw a massive amount of them along the edges of an abandoned gravel pit near Britt, MN in 2011. The plants have a great maple syrup smell.

Posted by: Angela - Wyoming
on: 2020-09-13 19:07:17

My son just brought me a bunch of these flowering plants. The scent was so strong, I was concerned it was toxic. Glad to identify it as the "rabbit tobacco". We have very sandy, well drained soil and it seems to be growing strong.

Posted by: Wayne - Big Lake
on: 2020-09-22 19:13:58

Found some growing at one end of our lot near pine trees in Sherburne County. Have never seen them before.

Posted by: Wanda - Chisago City
on: 2022-09-23 09:55:45

So glad to finally know the name of this plant! Every time we clear some land on our acreage, it seems to pop up. I've wondered what it was for awhile. Seeing the above comments - I'm going to go for a walk and smell it! (Chisago County)

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