field pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:
field pussytoes
cat's-foot

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS:
Antennaria angustiarum Lunell
Antennaria athabascensis Greene
Antennaria campestris Rydb.
Antennaria campestris Rydb. var. athabascensis (Greene) B. Boivin
Antennaria chelonica Lunell
Antennaria erosa Greene
Antennaria howellii Greene var. athabascensis (Greene) B. Boivin
Antennaria howellii Greene var. campestris (Rydb.) B. Boivin
Antennaria longifolia Greene
Antennaria lunellii Greene
Antennaria nebraskensis Greene
Antennaria neglecta Greene var. athabascensis (Greene) Roy L. Taylor
   & MacBryde
Antennaria neglecta Greene var. campestris (Rydb.) Steyerm.
Antennaria parvula Greene
Antennaria wilsonii Greene

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of field pussytoes

is Antennaria neglecta Greene.

 

Genus Antennaria is taxonomically complex because sexual seed produc-

tion has lead to the evolution of numerous microspecies, which have been

recognized by many taxonomists as distinct species.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

 

Habit: This native perennial plant is up to 1' tall, but more common-

ly ½' or less. It consists of a rosette of basal leaves, which sometimes

produces an inflorescence on a short stalk during the spring.

 

Leaves: The basal leaves near the main stem, but separate from it. The

basal leaves are up to 2" long and ½" across; they are oblanceolate to

narrowly spatula shaped, with smooth margins and a pointed tip. There
is a single prominent vein on the upper surface of each basal leaf, while

the lower surface is white and hairy. There are small alternate leaves along

the pubescent flowering stalk; they are narrowly lanceolate or linear, up to

2½ inches long and about ¼ inch wide, toothless, with no leaf stem. All

leaves are covered in woolly hairs, giving them a gray-green color. The

main stem is also covered in woolly hairs. The stem often angles or leans

over in the upper part of the plant.

 

Flowers: At the top of each stalk, a plant produces a few flowers are in a

rounded cluster up to 1 inch across at the top of the plant, made up of 2 to

8 grayish white flower heads ¼ to 1/3 inch long. There are separate male

and female flowers (either staminate or pistillate) on different plants. Flow-

erheads resemble compact tufts of white hair.The male flowers are less fur-

ry looking and have brown stamens protruding from the white flowers.

There is no discernable floral scent.

 

Fruit/Seeds: The flowerheads are quickly replaced by brown achenes with

small tufts of white hair, which are distributed by the wind. Field pussytoes

spread by means of horizontal stolons that are hairy and have small alter-

nate leaves that are narrowly lanceolate or linear. These stolons develop

plantlets that root in the ground.

 

Roots: The root system consists of a central taproot. This plant often forms

small colonies.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS: Field pussytoes propogates itself by re-

seeding and by vegetative spreading through horizontal stolons that devel-

op plantlets which root in the ground.

 

HABITAT TYPES: 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.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Field pussytoes prefers partial or full sun,
and mesic to dry conditions. This plant flourishes in soil that is rocky or

contains clay; it also grows readily in fertile loam.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from mid-
to late spring and lasts until early summer (April to June).

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Field pussytoes occur from North Caro-

lina north through New England into the Canadian Maritime Provin- ces

(excluding New Brunswick and Newfoundland). They extend west into

Tennessee to Oklahoma and have been found in all the Ohio Valley and

mid- western states. They also occur in the Rocky Mountain states as well

as in all Canadian provinces from Quebec west to British Columbia and

north into the Northwest Territories.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.

 

IMPORTANCE AND USES: Primarily small bees and flies visit the
flowers, including Halictid bees, Andrenid bees, Cuckoo bees, Syrphid

flies, Muscid flies, and Blow flies. The caterpillars of the American paint-

ed lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) feed on the foliage. The bobwhite

sometimes eats the seeds, while deer and rabbits occasionally browse on

the foliage.

 

 

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