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Antennaria

Antennaria

Antennaria

Thapa, Ramhari; Bayer, Randall J.; Mandel, Jennifer R. (2020). "Phylogenomics Resolves the Relationships within Antennaria (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae) and Yields New Insights into its Morphological Character Evolution and Biogeography". Systematic Botany. 45 (2): 387–402. doi:10.1600/036364420X15862837791221. S2CID 218754856.Antennaria plantaginifolia, or Plantain Pussytoes, is a herbaceous perennial, native ground cover in the Asteraceae family. The plant consists of a basal rosette of leaves and an erect stem bearing the flowers. It does best planted in full sun in lean, dry rocky soil with little organic matter. It suffers in soils too rich in organic matter or that drain poorly. It forms mats of soft woolly gray stems and paddle-shaped leavesThe native Field Pussytoes occurs occasionally in northern and central Illinois; it is less common in southern Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, clay prairies, slopes of open woodlands, dry meadows in woodland areas, savannas, shale glades, eroded clay banks, pastures, abandoned fields, and roadsides. This plant is allelopathic, and tends to reduce the height of neighboring grasses and forbs. It is more commonly found in prairies than Antennaria plantaginifolia (Plantain-leaved Pussytoes.Some authorities state that this is primarily a wind-pollinated plant, while others emphasize the role of insects in promoting cross-pollination. Primarily small bees and flies visit the flowers, including Halictid bees, Andrenid bees, cuckoo bees (Nomada spp., Sphecodes spp.), Syrphid flies, Muscid flies, Calliphorid flies, and Tachinid flies (Graenicher, 1909). The caterpillars of a butterfly, Vanessa virginiensis (American Painted Lady), feed on the foliage (Bouseman & Sternburg, 2001). Other insect feeders that feed on the foliage and other parts of Field Pussytoes and other Antennaria spp. include the gall-forming larvae of two flies, Asphondylia antennariae (Everlasting Bud Midge) and Rhopalomyia antennariae, larvae of a moth, Tebenna gnaphaliella (Everlasting Tebenna Moth), a plant bug (Melanotrichus catulus), and an aphid (Pleotrichophorus antennarius); see Felt (1917), Needham et al. (1928), Wheeler et al. (1983), and Blackman & Eastop (2013). Among vertebrate animals, some upland gamebirds feed on the foliage and/or seedheads, including the Ruffed Grouse, Bobwhite Quail, and Greater Prairie Chicken; White-tailed Deer also feed on these plants, especially during the spring (Martin et al., 1951/1961; Korschgen, 1962).

Some authorities state that this is primarily a wind-pollinated plant, while others emphasize the role of insects in promoting cross-pollination. Primarily small bees and flies visit the flowers, including Halictid bees, Andrenid bees, cuckoo bees (Nomada spp., Sphecodes spp.), Syrphid flies, Muscid flies, Calliphorid flies, and Tachinid flies (Graenicher, 1909). The caterpillars of a butterfly, Vanessa virginiensis (American Painted Lady), feed on the foliage (Bouseman & Sternburg, 2001). Other insect feeders that feed on the foliage and other parts of Field Pussytoes and other Antennaria spp. include the gall-forming larvae of two flies, Asphondylia antennariae (Everlasting Bud Midge) and Rhopalomyia antennariae, larvae of a moth, Tebenna gnaphaliella (Everlasting Tebenna Moth), a plant bug (Melanotrichus catulus), and an aphid (Pleotrichophorus antennarius); see Felt (1917), Needham et al. (1928), Wheeler et al. (1983), and Blackman & Eastop (2013). Among vertebrate animals, some upland gamebirds feed on the foliage and/or seedheads, including the Ruffed Grouse, Bobwhite Quail, and Greater Prairie Chicken; White-tailed Deer also feed on these plants, especially during the spring (Martin et al., 1951/1961; Korschgen, 1962). The crowded flower heads are thought to resemble a cat's paw, hence the common name. Male and the showier female flowers are on different plants. In some species of pussytoes the male flower heads are rare, even unknown, the female flower heads producing seeds without pollination. Most of our many species of Antennaria are difficult to identify, but Plantain-leaf Pussytoes is not a problem, nor is the similar-leaved Single-head Pussytoes (A. solitaria), found from Pennsylvania west to Illinois and south to the Gulf of Mexico; as its common name indicates, each stem bears a single flower head. A low-growing western native, Antennaria parvifolia (Small-Leaf Pussytoes) is a stoloniferous, mat-forming perennial forming a beautiful carpet of fine-textured, broad spatulate to oblanceolate, silver-gray leaves that remain attractive year-round. In summer, the plant sends up erect, reddish-green stems, up to 6 in. (15 cm), boasting clusters of small, rayless, creamy-white flower heads. The flowers attract painted lady butterflies. They are followed by fluffy seed. Fast growing, easy, accommodating, and resistant to drought, Antennaria parvifolia withstands light foot traffic. Great as a pretty small-scale groundcover, between stepping stones, for the front of the garden or the rock garden, it is a valuable plant for dry areas. (Source: www.gardenia.net)

 

 

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