Native Plant Trust

Antennaria plantaginifolia

plantain pussytoes


With silvery, wooly leaves, this low-growing, stoloniferous ground cover is beautiful in tough conditions. Individual plants consist of basal rosettes with stems bearing either male (stamenate) or female (pistillate) flowers. (Antennaria plantaginifolia naturally does well in thin, acidic soils, making it great in a rock garden setting or even as a lawn alternative. Its charming and unique flowers add ecological value to a variety of possible habitats.

Click on these links to read in detail:  General Description | Benefits | Ecology | References


Height: 1-3 in
Spread: 12-24 in
Hardiness Zone: 3-8


Bloom Color: White

Characteristics & Attributes

Cultivation Status
Species
Exposure
Sun
Soil Moisture
Average
Dry
Ecoregion
(84) Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens
(82) Acadian Plains and Hills
(58) Northeastern Highlands
(83) Eastern Great Lakes Lowlands
(59) Northeastern Coastal Zone
Ornamental Interest
Spring Bloom
Attracts Wildlife
Other Pollinators/Wildlife
Attracts Butterflies
Attracts Bees
Host Plant
Tolerance
Drought Tolerant
Urban Environment
Deer/Rabbit Resistant
Salt Tolerant
Additional Attributes
Low Maintenance


North American Distribution


General Description

Bloom Description: Blooms in spring to early summer, May to June. White flowers are tightly bunched in terminal clusters on 8" stems, resembling a cat's paw, hence the common name.

Growth Habit & Shape: Ground-hugging, fuzzy foliage spreads in a slowly expanding mat.

Soil Preferences: Thrives in dry, thin, rocky and acidic soil.

Root Description: Roots are fine, widely spreading, and shallow; prone to rot in conditions that are too wet.

Garden Uses: This plant is beautiful on a rocky ledge in full sun, and can also be used in dry, partly shaded, acidic areas, for instance under white pine (Pinus strobus).

Best Management & Maintenance: Plantain-leaved pussy toes require little to no maintenance once established, and establishment is primarily contingent on growing conditions rather than on care. If grown in an area that gathers leaf litter, remove by hand or gently blow off in late fall or early spring.

Common Problems: Issues arise when this plant is smothered by leaves or planted in an excessively wet environment, and in both of these cases the plant may develop mold or rot.

Benefits

Ornamental Value: Interesting texture and color for detailed plantings or natural areas of low ground covers.

Wildlife Benefits: Valuable host for the American lady butterfly. Flowers visited by many spring pollinators, including Andrenid bees, Halictid bees, and cuckoo bees.

Use in place of: if conditions are right, plant in place of turfgrass.

Ecology

Habitat:
Found in a variety of semi-forested habitats, woodland openings and meadow edges, typically with acidic, well-drained soil.


Native State Distributions:
Canada: Man., N.B., N.S., Que
USA: AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IW, KY, ME, MD, MA, MN, MI, MO, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV, WS.


Wetland indicator status: not classified

References

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Photo by Dan Jaffe (c) Native Plant Trust
Photo by Dan Jaffe (c) Native Plant Trust
Photo by Dan Jaffe (c) Native Plant Trust
Photo by Dan Jaffe (c) Native Plant Trust