The first time I touched an Everlasting flower in Ooty few decades back, I was stunned at the texture and color of the flower. It was as though I was touching a paper flower. The fact that the flowers closed after sunset intrigued me more to buy the cut flowers sold near Ooty lake. During subsequent visits, as we explored the Nilgiris, I saw them growing wildly in almost every nook and corner of the hills. The golden yellow plant braving the chilly winds and cheering the passer by.
The other common names of Everlasting Flowers are Niligiri Everlasting Flowers, Paper daisy, Strawflower. The botanical name is Xerochrysum bracteatum and belongs to Asteraceae (Sunflower) family. It is a native of Australia and Western Ghats of India.
The plant grows to a height of 30 cm. The green stems are branched and thick covered with tiny hair. Leaves are Grey, the edges are curved, and the surface is velvety and whitish light green.
Flowers bloom at the stalk ends in clusters. They are spherical in yellow, pink, bronze, cream, purple, and white. The papery bracts surround the corolla. The bracts look like petals. The flower cuttings last a long time.
Many butterflies, moths, bees, beetles, and grasshoppers are attracted to the flowers.
The flowers are used in flower arrangements.