Antennaria Plantaginifolia

Antennaria Plantaginifolia

Antennaria Plantaginifolia

During the spring, a central stem develops from the basal leaves. At the apex of the central stem is a small cluster of about 3 to 6 staminate or pistillate flowerheads.The blooms occur mid- to late spring, lasting about 2-3 weeks. There is no noticeable floral scent. The flower-bearing part of the plant dies down during the summer, but the rosette of basal leaves persists. Occasionally, this plant forms stolons that take root a short distance from the mother plant. These colonies sometimes consist of all staminate or all pistillate plants.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 leaves.



Leaves are woolly gray-green and resemble a plantain plant. The basal leaves are up to 3½ inches long and 2 inches across, with long petioles and smooth margins. Mature basal leaves have 3 to 5 conspicuous veins. The upper surfaces of these leaves are light to medium green and glabrous to appressed-hairy, while their lower surfaces are whitish green and densely appressed-hairy. Sometimes basal leaves become smoother with age. The stem is clasped by erect or ascending leaves, each up to 1½ inches long, narrowly lanceolate or elliptic in shape, and smooth to undulate. They tend to be more hairy than the basal leaves. Pussytoes are usually grown for their velvety leaves rather than the white to pale pink flower. The late spring flowers look like tiny cat's feet, thus the name. These flowers will reach up to about a foot in height, but the leaves grow at ground level.

Spreading by rhizomes, Pussytoes provide a good ground cover for dry areas such as rock gardens. Parts of the plant are poisonous so deer and rabbits and other small animals won't touch them.A. plantaginifolia and A. neglecta can be difficult to differentiate; their primary differences exist in their leaves. A. plantaginifolia has broader leaves with 3-5 prominent veins compared to the 1-2 prominent veins seen in the narrower leaves of A. neglecta. A. neglecta also tends to be shorter. Both are host larvae hosts for the American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginensis).Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow. (Source:www.prairiemoon.com)



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