Antennaria plantaginifolia (L.) Richardson

plantain-leaved 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

Plantain-leaved pussytoes, as the name suggests, has basal leaves that loosely resemble the leaves of plantain. The white, fuzzy, tightly packed flower heads can look like the pads of a cat's paw.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), cliffs, balds, or ledges, meadows and fields, 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
6.5–75 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract cycle number
    there are three or more cycles of bracts
    Bracts
    there are at least two distinct forms of bracts in different cycles
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    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
    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
    5–8 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    the inflorescence is flat-topped in profile
    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 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
    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
  • Fruits or seeds
    Ovary beak length
    0 mm
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    1–1.5 mm
    Seed hair tuft bases
    the pappus hairs are attached to one another near the base
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs are smooth and plain
    Seed hair tuft length
    4–5.5 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
    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 hairs
    the leaf blade has tangled or woolly-looking hairs
    Leaf blade length
    6.5–75 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has three main veins running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf blade width
    15–35 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 tip 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
    • 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 type
    at least some of the hairs on the stem are tangled, matted or woolly
    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.

Maine
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Antennaria parlinii:
collective set of involucral bracts on fruiting plants mostly 7-10 mm long and body of fruit 1.3-2.2 mm long (vs. A. plantaginifolia, with the collective set of involucral bracts on fruiting plants 5-7 mm long and body of fruit 1-1.5 mm long).

Synonyms

  • Antennaria petiolata Fern.
  • Antennaria plantaginifolia var. petiolata (Fern.) Heller
  • Gnaphalium plantaginifolium L.

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Antennaria

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

4.  Antennaria plantaginifolia (L.) Richardson N

plantain-leaved pussytoes. Antennaria petiolata Fern.; A. plantaginifolia var. petiolata (Fern.) Heller; Gnaphalium plantaginifolium L. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Dry fields, roadsides, woodlands, rock balds.