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Nuttall's Pussytoes Antennaria parvifolia (Antennaria aprica)


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Nuttall's Pussytoes
© Gerald & Buff Corsi

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Alternate name: Littleleaf Pussytoes

Family: Asteraceae, Aster view all from this family

Description From a small, grayish basal rosette rises an erect, sparsely-leaved flower stalk with clusters of small, rayless, whitish flower heads.
Habit: native perennial herb; low and mat-forming; spreads by runners.
Height: 0.8-6 in (2-15 cm).
Leaf: silver-green, both sides hairy; in basal rosette, tightly packed, spoon-shaped, pointed, with single, prominent vein; 0.3-1.4 in (8-35 mm) long, 0.1-0.6 in (2-15 mm) wide; on stem, alternate, fewer, linear, with pointed tip but no flag, 0.1-0.8 in (2-20 mm) wide.
Flower: white or cream, edged with pink, green, red, or brown; packed into tight terminal cluster of 2-7 flowerheads; cluster may appear rounded and quilted, or may resemble toes on a paw.
Fruit: tiny dry seed, to 1/16 in (1.8 mm) long;l tipped with white bristles to 3/8 in (9 mm) long.

Flower May to September.

Habitat Dry forest openings, plains, prairies, overgrazed pastures, roadsides, mountain parks, open deciduous woods, and drier coniferous forests, usually ponderosa or lodgepole pine; also cultivated as an ornamental.

Range Native to western North America and the upper Great Lakes region; from British Columbia to California, east to Texas, north to the Dakotas, and east to Minnesota, Michigan and Ontario; at 300-10,000 ft (100-3400 m).

Discussion Also known as: small-leaf pussytoes, littleleaf pussytoes, common pussytoes, Rocky Mountain pussytoes, silver pussytoes, pussytoes, low everlasting. Listed as "sensitive" by Washington state. Some plants in this species produce seed in the usual manner, by fertilization of eggs in the ovary; others do not require fertilization. The tightly clustered basal leaves and the near absence of dark bases on the bracts of the flower heads help distinguish Nuttall's Pussytoes from other members of this large genus.