Antennaria neglecta

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: field pussytoes 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry 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 somewhat difficult to cultivate well 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. Plants will typically spread over time to form dense colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Antennaria neglecta, commonly known as field pussytoes, is a small stoloniferous, mat-forming, herbaceous perennial of the composite family. It is native to dry fields, plains, slopes, grasslands, and open woodlands from Maine to Montana south to Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina. It is found in all Canadian provinces plus the Northwest Territories, but is absent from the Yukon and Nunavut Territories.

Stems, leaves and clustered flower heads are woolly. Leaves are of two kinds: (1) basal leaves (each leaf to 2” long and 1/2” wide) in rosettes, with each leaf having a pointed tip, curved edges, a narrow tapered base and a single vein underneath, and (2) much smaller linear leaves arranged alternately along each flower stalk. In spring, a flower stalk rises from the center of each basal rosette to 8-12” tall bearing crowded terminal clusters of fuzzy, 1/4-inch wide, white disk flowers (petal-like rays absent) in flower heads which purportedly resemble pussy toes. Each flower cluster has over 20 small unscented flower heads. Plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Fruits on female plants are seed-like achenes, with the fruiting heads resembling the fruiting heads of miniature dandelions.

This plant is very similar in appearance to Antennaria plantaginifolia except for being somewhat smaller and sporting narrower single-ribbed basal leaves.

Field pussytoes is a host for the American painted lady butterfly caterpillar.

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.

Specific epithet from Latin means overlooked or slighted in probable reference to the manner which these plants blend into the landscape.

Common name of field pussytoes refers to the common native plant habitat of fields and the purported resemblance of flower clusters to the soft pads of a cat’s paw.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Difficult plant to grow well 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.