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Ladies' Tabacco Antennaria plantaginifolia

Phonetic Spelling
an-ten-AIR-ee-uh plan-tah-JIN-ih-foh-lee-uh
Description

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.

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.

The plant prefers full sun or light shade and average to dry well-drained acidic soil and will flourish in poor soil that contains sand, rocky material, or clay. It does not do well in fertile, humusy soils, particularly if drainage is poor. It can be difficult to cultivate if soil requirements are not met, but in optimum conditions, it can spread by stolons to form an attractive ground cover.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No major insect or disease problem, though it can be challenging to grow if soil conditions are not met. The semi-evergreen basal leaves often become discolored and withered with age.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Pinehurst Greenway Pollinator Habitat Garden, Moore County
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#full sun tolerant#perennial#white flowers#wildlife plant#pink flowers#nectar plant#spring flowers#showy stems#disease resistant#NC native#pest resistant#mat#trailing#woolly#native garden#groundcover#spring interest#larval host plant#food source spring#food source herbage#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#audubon#american lady butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#full sun tolerant#perennial#white flowers#wildlife plant#pink flowers#nectar plant#spring flowers#showy stems#disease resistant#NC native#pest resistant#mat#trailing#woolly#native garden#groundcover#spring interest#larval host plant#food source spring#food source herbage#rocky soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#audubon#american lady butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Antennaria
    Species:
    plantaginifolia
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada to Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    North America
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) larvae which appear from May to November. In the deep south they will appear all year long. American Lady butterflies feed on flower nectar almost exclusively.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Likes rocky, dry, lean soils, & little organic matter soils; No major insect or disease problem
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Dense
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit displays from April to June. The fruit resembles small brown nutlets with white resinous dots, to which small tufts of white hair are attached. They are distributed by the wind.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Dried
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowerheads are about ¼ to ½ inch long and a little less across with floral bracts at their bases that are light green and hairy, otherwise they consist of white disk florets. The staminate florets have brownish tubular anthers, while the pistillate florets are fluffy white. The flowers appear from March to May and are called pussytoes because of the resemblance the tight flower clusters to the toes of a cat's paw.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    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.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    This plant forms mats of basal leaves with soft woolly gray stems. This central stem is densely covered with appressed white hairs; along its length, there are a few alternate leaves.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Insect Pests
    Poor Soil