everlasting, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more English everlasting long-lasting, as applied to plants; here transferred to local species.
In full everlasting flower: any of several species of Helichrysum and Helipterum (family Asteraceae), bearing highly-coloured papery blooms which retain their shape and colour for a considerable time; one of these flowers; seven year bloem, seven years’ bloem, see seven year; sewejaartjie. Occasionally also with distinguishing epithet, as Cape everlasting, pink everlasting, strawberry everlasting, white everlasting, etc. Frequently in the plural, as everlastings.
[1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. 232Elichrysum Africanum...Broad leaf’d stinking African Eternal flower, with yellow heads.]
1784 J. Cook Voy. of Disc. (1790) II. 391The everlasting-flower..when it is plucked it cannot be perceived to fade.
1797 Lady A. Barnard S. Afr. Century Ago (1910) 120On t’other side of the mountain there grew a profusion of what are called everlasting flowers...The white remain for ever the same; the red ones are the most curious, being as bright as if made by red foils.
1804 R. Percival Acct of Cape of G.H. 146The everlasting flower..derives its name from appearing as fresh..after being seven years pulled as the day when it was first torn from the stalk...When first plucked it feels like an artificial flower of painted paper.
1815 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. II. 121While the English name, everlastings, and the French, immortelles, refer to the imperishable nature of their beauty, we Germans are pleased to call them paper-flowers, or straw flowers; to designate, in truly prosaic terms, the dryness which prevents their fading.
1847 J. Barrow Autobiog. Memoir 170Among the herbaceous plants, common to the colony, were the xeranthemum and gnaphalium, to the flowers of which the Dutch have given the name of seben-yaars’ bloom — seven years’ flowers, a duration which in England we have extended to everlastings.
1852 E. Rutherfoord in J. Murray Young Mrs Murray (1954) 25I gathered large bunches of everlastings and tied them to the end of Mr Newton’s gun.
1861 A Lady Life at Cape (1963) 32I have never seen anything to equal the metallic lustre of the ‘everlasting’ flowers, which are hawked about in great bunches by the broom-cutters for a few pence.
1893 Cape Illust. Mag. Feb. 221Beautiful masses of everlastings and heath.
1906 B. Stoneman Plants & their Ways 111A capitulum or flower head has a shortened axis and sessile flowers, as in the Everlasting family and Protea.
1907 T.R. Sim Forests & Forest Flora 247Helichrysum senecioideae,..Involucre sometimes shorter than the florets, sometimes longer, white, rosy brown or yellow, and then forming the ornamental and persistent ‘flowers’ popularly known as Everlastings.
c1911 S. Playne Cape Col. 49‘Everlasting flowers,’ numerous in species, in some instances exhibit pure white bracts, but some with tinted bracts grow in rich profusion.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 26Everlasting, The commercial kind for export is Helichrysum vestitum. Several others often employed for floral ornaments.
1951 A. Gordon-Brown Yr Bk & Guide to Sn Afr. 1951 329The exports of Everlasting Flowers normally amount to a few hundred pounds a year.
1960 G. Lister Reminisc. 68He had picked a remarkable everlasting flower which he brought home to me and which I still keep. It has the globe shape of the Swellendam ‘strawberry’ everlasting, but it is white with brown spots.
1971 Cape Times 15 May (Weekend Mag.) 5Daniel Carse, of Stanford..made a fortune exporting everlasting flowers to Germany where they were used for funerals.
1987 Flying Springbok Jan. 31Already the world-famous ericas and Cape everlastings are flowering.
1988 M. Branch Explore Cape Flora 17The pink everlasting is a perennial with tiny leaves and a woody stem. The papery petals dry without losing their colour.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 251A small handful of pale pink everlastings, the straw flowers that star the mountain grass in summer.
1990 Weekend Argus 10 Feb. 4On the way we would pass a Malay kramat where there were always vases of everlastings, stone jars containing strange concoctions [etc.].
any of several species of Helichrysum and Helipterum (family Asteraceae), bearing highly-coloured papery blooms which retain their shape and colour for a considerable time; one of these flowers; seven year bloem, seven years’ bloem, see seven year; sewejaartjie. Occasionally also with distinguishing epithet, as Cape everlasting, pink everlasting, strawberry everlasting, white everlasting, etc. Frequently in the plural, as everlastings.

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