Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

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S.G. Aiken, M.J. Dallwitz, L.L. Consaul, C.L. McJannet, R.L. Boles, G.W. Argus, J.M. Gillett, P.J. Scott, R. Elven, M.C. LeBlanc, L.J. Gillespie, A.K. Brysting, H. Solstad, and J.G. Harris

Antennaria Gaertn.

English: Everlasting, pussy-toes, ladies' tobacco.

Asteraceae (Compositae), Daisy family.

Published in Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2,3 410. t. 167. 1791.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 2–15(–20) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose, or not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present (fibrous roots arising from the underground stem). Ground level or underground stems horizontal, or vertical; elongate, or compact; 0.5–5 mm wide (if applicable). Caudex present (between basal tufts of leaves and roots). Aerial stems developed; erect. Leaves mainly basal, or basal in a rosette, or distributed along the stems; alternate; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases truncate, or attenuate. Blades 4–25 mm long, 1–4 mm wide, spreading or divaricate, oblanceolate, flat, appearing single-veined or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface glabrous (rarely) or glabrescent or hairy, hairs pubescent or woolly, hairs simple, hairs sparse or moderately dense or dense (if applicable), hairs white, or translucent (the hairs) or grey (ashy, the surface colour of the leaf from the dense hair cover). Blade abaxial surface glabrous (rarely) or hairy (usually), hairs puberulent or tomentose or woolly or long-silky, hairs moderately dense or very dense, hairs white, hairs straight or curved or wavy, hairs appressed or spreading. Blade margins entire; apices acuminate, or acute, or obtuse (basal leaves; the upper leaves of the flowering stems are tipped with brown, scale-like, glabrous "flags" 1–2 mm long).

Reproductive morphology. Plants dioecious, or bisexual, or agamospermic (unisexual). Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems villous, or woolly, or long-silky. Flowering stem hairs simple; white or translucent (usually), or brown (A. alpina s.l.); glandular hairs present (in A. friesiana). Inflorescences solitary heads, or of several flowering heads; ovate, or globose or sub-globose; (0.7–)1–2(–5) cm long; 10–25(–30) mm wide. Flowering heads 6.5–12 mm deep; 6–14 mm wide; with only disc florets. Pedicels subtending flowering heads (or not applicable); with non-glandular hairs. Involucral bracts present (those of the staminate heads relatively broad, those of the pistillate heads more acute). Number of rows 2–3. Outer involucral bracts mostly green; lying adjacent to the flowers; lanceolate (unisexual); 4.5–7 mm high; 0.5–2 mm wide; glabrous (entirely so, or only at the apex), or sparsely hairy, or densely hairy (towards the base); without glandular hairs. Inner involucral bracts lanceolate; 4.5–8 mm high; 0.5–1.3 mm wide; margins wide, scarious for at least one quarter of the bract (but variable); apex entire. Flowers radially symmetrical (actinomorphic); unisexual (usually), or bisexual. Sepals represented by a pappus. Pappus with a single row of hairs; whitish. Disc florets pappus 4–6.2 mm long. Petals conventional; fused; shorter than the calyx (A. media subsp. compacta), or longer than the calyx (usually); 5; white, or red, or pink, or purple, or brown (flowering heads white from the colour of the large stigmas: the small petals may be, pink, purple or brown and give the white a faint tinge); 3.5–4.7 mm long. Corolla tubular; unlobed (fringed), or 5-lobed. Stamens absent. Ovary inferior; carpels 2; syncarpous. Styles 1; 3.8–5 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; cypselas; yellowish, or brown; 1–2 mm long; 0.5–1 mm wide; surface appearing veinless, or venation ribbed (where observed); indehiscent. Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 42, or 60, or 63, or 70, or 100.

North American distribution. Common, uncommon.

General notes. The genus name Antennaria is derived from the Latin antenna, which means the shape of the clavate pappus bristles of staminate flowers being similar to antenna of certain insects. The common names of this genus are of European origin. "Everlasting" refers to the fact the foliage and dried seed heads persist well into the winter without appearing to brown or change at all. The name "pussy-toes" comes from the fact that the flowering heads and developing seed heads resemble the furry paws of a small cat (Burt 2000). Many species of Antennaria are cultivated as rock garden ornamentals. Plants with red or pink involucral bracts have been selected and are most prized for cultivation (Bayer, personal communication, 2003).

Elven et al. (2003) noted that this is a very complex genus where the species are (1) sexual with both sexes present in populations, (2) agamospermic and then usually only with females present in populations, or (3) sometimes both as, e.g., in A. alpina s.s. and some entities in A. friesiana s.l. The genus has been split extensively by botanists working in North America and Greenland. At the time of Hultén (1950), about 200 North American 'species' had been described. Bayer (1984) considered that Antennaria in North America comprised 25–30 sexual diploid species and several large polyploid, agamic complexes distributed throughout the temperate to arctic regions of the northern hemisphere. He suggested that X = 14 is the base number in Antennaria and recognised three separate situations within the genus: 1. A diploid group not containing polyploid apomicts; 2. Diploid species from groups containing apomicts; 3. Polyploid agamospecies and amphimictic species that are probably of hybrid origin between two or more diploid members of the genus.

Savile (1972) stated that "furriness" is common in plants that occur at high altitudes where there is little atmospheric protection from the sun's radiation. He speculated that most of the arctic plants that are densely pubescent throughout, such as Antennaria species, have been derived fairly recently and with little genetic change from alpine regions.

Illustrations. • Plant habit. Plants with single flowering heads composed of only disc florets and growing on a west facing boulder slope moraine. Nunavut, Iqaluit, Baffin Island. 24 July, 1982. J.M. Gillett 19016. CAN.


This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.

Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.

Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa.

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