Antennaria parlinii

flowers
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: pussy toes 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eastern and central North America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Best grown in lean, gritty to rocky, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This is one of the few native Missouri plants which grows well in dry, shady locations. It does not do well in fertile, humusy soils, particularly if drainage is poor. This plant can be difficult to cultivate in St. Louis gardens if soil requirements are not met. In optimum growing conditions, however, it can spread by stolons to form an attractive ground cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Antennaria parlinii, commonly known as pussytoes, is a native to eastern and central North America. It is very similar in appearance to Antennaria plantaginifolia, with the main difference being larger flower heads. It is a stoloniferous, mat-forming plant, with the leaves and flower stalks being woolly and grayish. Somewhat non-showy, fuzzy, whitish flower heads bloom in spring. Flowers are crowded into terminal clusters (corymbs) atop downy, small-leaved flowering stems rising to 10” high from a basal rosette of paddle-shaped leaves (to 3” long). Plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants), with male flowers (yellow stamens) typically appearing on shorter flower stalks than the female flowers (pink stamens).

Genus name comes from the Latin word antenna which means yard of a sailing ship in apparent reference to the bristle-like hairs on the flower heads purportedly resembling the antennae of some insects.

Commonly called pussytoes because of the supposed resemblance of each tight flower cluster to the soft pads of a cat’s paw.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Difficult plant to grow unless lean, dry, well-drained soil conditions can be met.

Garden Uses

Useful as a small area ground cover in rock gardens, rocky slopes, open woodland areas, prairie areas or other lean, rocky areas in the landscape.