Antennaria plantaginifolia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: pussytoes 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: White tinged with pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant, Good Dried
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. Does not do well in fertile, humusy soils, particularly if drainage is poor. Though a widespread Missouri native plant, it 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 plantaginifolia, commonly called pussytoes, plantain-leaved pussytoes, plantain-leaved everlasting and ladies' tobacco, is a Missouri native perennial which typically grows in acid soils on dry or rocky slopes, prairies and glades throughout the State. It is a stoloniferous, mat-forming, woolly plant, with all of the leaves and flower stalks being woolly and grayish. Somewhat non-showy, fuzzy, whitish flower heads tinged with pink bloom in spring. Flowers are crowded into terminal clusters (corymbs) atop 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 typically appearing on shorter flower stalks.

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 means having leaves like plantain.

Commonly called pussytoes because of the supposed resemblance of each tight flower cluster to the pads or toes 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

Soft, gray foliage is arguably the best ornamental feature of this native perennial. 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.