Antennaria howellii Greene

small pussytoes

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Small pussytoes, a highly variable plant of dry sites, gets its specific epithet (howellii) from John Thomas Howell (1842-1912), a plant collector in Washington and Oregon who printed his own Flora of Northwest America.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), cliffs, balds, or ledges, meadows and fields, ridges or ledges, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
Ray flower color
NA
Tuft or plume on fruit
at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
8–65 mm
Disk flower number
  • 1-5
  • 11-20
  • 21-50
  • 6-10
  • more than 50
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract color
    • the bracts are colored, or at least tinged with, pink, red or purple
    • the bracts are not colored or tinged with pink, red or purple
    Bract cycle number
    there are three or more cycles of bracts
    Bract inner side hairs
    the bracts are not hairy on their inner surfaces
    Bract keels
    the bracts do not have keels
    Bract margins
    there are few or no fine hairs along the bract margins
    Bract outer side hairs
    the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract separation
    the bracts appear completely unconnected to one another on all flower heads
    Bract spines
    the bracts have no spines
    Bract tip color
    the tips are a different color from the center of the bract
    Bract tip extension appearance
    NA
    Bract tip extension edge
    there are no projections from the bract tips
    Disk flower color
    white
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower number
    • 1-5
    • 11-20
    • 21-50
    • 6-10
    • more than 50
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has either only pollen- or only seed-producing parts
    Flower head number
    • each flowering stem has four or more flower heads on it
    • each flowering stem has only one to three flower heads on it
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, the flowers have no enlarged lobe or strap, and are of similar size as those in the center of the disk
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head platform surface
    NA
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
    Height of flower head base
    6–11 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    the inflorescence is flat-topped in profile
    Inflorescence stem
    hairs are present on the stem of the inflorescence
    Ovary attachment
    the ovary is attached at or near the base
    Ovary beak
    there is no beak on the ovary
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary has five or more corners in cross-section
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    there are no lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is oblong (roughly rectangular but rounded at the ends)
    Ovary surface
    the ovary surface is textured with tiny points, bumps or wrinkles
    Ovary wing number
    0
    Ray flower color
    NA
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Ray flowers
    0
    Ray length
    0 mm
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on some plants have carpels, while all the flowers on other plants have stamens
    Scale tip
    NA
    Smaller bracts at base of bracts
    there is no smaller, outer cycle of bracts
    Style branch number
    the style has two branches
  • Fruits or seeds
    Ovary beak length
    0 mm
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    0.8–1.7 mm
    Seed hair tuft bases
    the pappus hairs are attached to one another near the base
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are white or off-white
    Seed hair tuft details
    • the pappus hairs are hooked or barbed
    • the pappus hairs are smooth and plain
    Seed hair tuft length
    4–9 mm
    Seed hair tuft tips
    the pappus hairs are slender
    Seed hairs uniform
    all the pappus hairs are approximately the same length
    Seed tuft scale number
    0
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of very fine hairs or bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
  • Glands or sap
    Bract resin
    the bracts have no resin or resin glands
    Leaf blade glands
    the leaf blades have no glandular (translucent) dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Horizontal rooting stem
    there are stolons on some plants
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is perennial, it shows evidence of previous year's leaves, stems or stem bases
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    • the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has tangled or woolly-looking hairs
    Leaf blade length
    8–65 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is spatulate (spoon-shaped; narrow near the base, then suddenly widening to a rounded tip)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is rounded, with no point
    Leaf blade veins
    • the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip
    • the leaf blade has three main veins running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf blade width
    2.5–20 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    At least 0 mm
    Leaf tip extension
    • the leaf has a thin, papery extension
    • there is no thin, papery extension of the leaf
    Leaf tufts in axils
    there are no clusters of smaller leaves
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • ridges or ledges
    • woodlands
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles
    Leaves on stem
    the flowering stem has no leaves above the base
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem internode hair direction
    the hairs are pressed flat against the plant, pointing either towards the plant's tip or towards it's base
    Stem internode hair type
    • at least some of the hairs on the stem are tangled, matted or woolly
    • at least some of the hairs on the stem have glands
    Stem internode hairs
    the stem has hairs between the nodes
    Stem wings
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. canadensis

Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

ssp. neodioica

Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

ssp. petaloidea

Connecticut
unrankable (S-rank: SU), special concern, extirpated (code: SC*)
Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Antennaria neglecta:
plants combining the following 2 features: upper stem leaves terminated by a flat or curling, weak-textured appendage and new rosette leaves gray-green with woolly hairs on the upper surface (vs. A. howellii, which are plants lacking both of the aforementioned features: with either the upper stem leaves merely pointed or new rosette leaves bright green and without hairs on the upper surface).

Synonyms

  • Antennaria neglecta var. neodioica (Greene) Cronq.
  • Antennaria neodioica Greene
  • Antennaria neodioica Greene var. rupicola (Fern.) Fern.
  • Antennaria rupicola Fern.
  • Antennaria  neodioica Greene var. attenuata Fern.
  • Antennaria  neodioica Greene var. chlorophylla Fern.
  • Antennaria  neodioica Greene var. grandis Fern.

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Antennaria

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Antennaria howellii ssp. canadensis (Greene) Bayer is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT.A. howellii ssp. neodioica (Greene) Bayer is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. A. howellii ssp. petaloidea (Fern.) Bayer is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, and is relatively rare in southern New England.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Antennaria howellii Greene N

small pussytoes.  1a. Antennaria canadensis Greene; A. neglecta Greene var. canadensis (Greene) Cronq.; A. neodioica Greene ssp. canadensis (Greene) Bayer & Stebbins;  
1b. Antennaria neglecta Greene var. neodioica (Greene) Cronq.; A. neodioica Greene; 
 A. neodioica Greene var. attenuata Fern.; A. neodioica Greene var. chlorophylla Fern.; 
 A. neodioica Greene var. grandis Fern.; A. neodioica Greene var. rupicola (Fern.) Fern.; 
 A. rupicola Fern.;  1c. Antennaria neglecta Greene var. petaloidea (Fern.) Cronq.; 
 A. neglecta Greene var. subcorymbosa Fern.; A. neodioica Greene ssp. petaloidea (Fern.) 
Bayer & Stebbins; A. neodioica Greene var. petaloidea Fern.; A. petaloidea (Fern.) Fern.; 
 A. petaloidea (Fern.) Fern. var. scariosa Fern.; A. petaloidea (Fern.) Fern. var. subcorymbosa (Fern.) Fern. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Dry fields, roadsides, woodlands, rock balds, ledges.

1a.  Middle and upper stem leaves tipped by a flat or involute-margined, scarious appendage [Fig. 374]; new rosette leaves bright green and promptly glabrous on the adaxial surface 
 … 1a. A. howellii ssp. canadensis (Greene) Bayer

1b.  Middle and upper stem leaves blunt- to aristate-tipped [Fig. 373], only the leaves of the capitulescence with a scarious appendage; new rosette leaves white or gray-green and tomentose on the adaxial surface or sometimes bright green and promptly glabrous in forms of A. howellii var. neodioica

2a.  Stolons and basal offshoots short, leafy, terminated by rosettes; rosette leaves tending to have defined petioles … 1b. A. howellii ssp. neodioica (Greene) Bayer

2b.  Stolons elongate, cord-like, with few, small leaves, only tardily developing terminal rosettes; rosette leaves tending to have ill-defined petioles 
 … 1c. A. howellii ssp. petaloidea (Fern.) Bayer

Subspecies canadensis is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Subspecies neodioica is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Subspecies petaloidea is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, but is relatively rare in southern New England.