Male Low Pussytoes

Low pussytoes (Antennaria dimorpha) are dioecious, that is, having male and female flowers on different plants. This member of the Asteraceae (Sunflower) Family is found in dry areas of Western United States and Western Canada to about 6,000 feet.

In April I found these male plants/flowers growing in our North Pasture located near Lookout CA (Modoc County). However I did not notice any female plants in the vicinity. Being a perennial that grows from a thick carrot-like caudex (rootstock), low pussytoes can continue to survive without reproduction and assumes a low-growing mat shape.

The thick, spoon-shaped leaves are green and covered with grey hairs and are often partially folded at the midvein. The flower heads form singly at the top of short stems. Low pussytoes phyllaries (bracts) are greenish-brown and pointed with scraggly white hairs at the base. Each flower head has about twelve disc flowers. The stamens stick up like antennae. These male plants do not produce seeds.

The genus name, Atennaria, comes from the Latin word for antenna. The dioecious nature of low pussytoes is reflected in the species designation, dimorpha meaning “two forms” in Greek. Another common name for A dimorpha is grey cushion pussytoes.

Now I need to find some female low pussytoes plants.

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