- Basal leaves usually absent at flowering, not noticeably larger than the lower stem leaves. Stem leaves numerous, sessile, 2-12 cm long, linear to elliptic-lanceolate, bluntly to sharply pointed at the tip, sometimes slightly expanded and clasping at the base, the margins entire and sometimes curled under, both surfaces densely white-woolly, the upper surface sometimes becoming nearly glabrous with age.
Stem and leaves.
- Inflorescences rounded to more or less flat-topped, often relatively dense panicles, the individual heads mostly short-stalked.
- Heads all staminate or mostly pistillate, the pistillate heads usually with 2-4 staminate central florets. Involucre 5-8 mm long, broadly ovoid to cup-shaped, the bracts in 7-12 overlapping series, mostly loosely appressed when young, spreading with age, mostly bluntly pointed at the tip, woolly at the base, bright white, showy, usually slightly shiny. Receptacle nearly flat, naked.
- Corollas 3.5-4.5 mm long, yellow to greenish yellow. Pappus of numerous capillary bristles, these free and shed individually, minutely toothed.
- Achenes 0.7-1.0 mm long, narrowly ellipsoid-obovoid, strongly flattened, the surface appearing pebbled or roughened with minute papillae, brown to olive brown.
- July - September.
- Native to U.S. but probably not Missouri.
- This distinctive and showy species is very common in western and northeastern regions of the U.S., but is rare in most of the Midwest and Plains states. It Missouri it has been collected only twice, and not since 1958. These were probably remnants from cultivation, since the plant is a popular ornamental. This is an easy species to identify. The distinctive papery-white involucre bracts are the showiest parts of the plant.
is a popular garden plant and is attractive in dried flower arrangements. It was also used medicinally by natives to treat a variety of ailments. A tea of the plant was used to treat colds, coughs, and infections. The leaves were also smoked for throat and lung troubles. It was also used in religious ceremonies.
Photographs taken in Marquette, MI., 9-3-03 (DETenaglia); also roadsides in Linn County, OR, 8-28-2012, and Teton County, WY, 8-30-2012; and in Larimer County, CO, 7-29-2017 (SRTurner).
Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 850. 1753;
(A. Gray) A. Gray
rhizomes relatively slender.
white, densely and closely tomentose, not glandular.
1—3-nerved, 3—10(—15) cm, bases subclasping, decurrent, margins revolute, abaxial faces tomentose or glabrescent (proximal leaves), not glandular or very sparsely and inconspicuously glandular, adaxial faces green, glabrate.
5—7 × 6—8(—10) mm.
ovate to nearly linear (innermost), subequal to unequal, apices white, opaque.
0.5—1 mm, bases constricted into stipiform carpopodia.
Flowering Jul—Oct (sporadically longer). Dry woods, often with aspen or mixed conifer-hardwood, borders and trails, dunes, fields, roadsides, other open, often disturbed sites; 0—3200 m; St. Pierre and Miquelon; Alta., B.C. , Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I. Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.; Mexico (Baja California); Asia; introduced in Europe.
was widely planted as an ornamental and escaped. It apparently naturalized from its native range in both Asia and North America; it is cultivated and naturalized in Europe.
has the aspect of
; it differs in being subdioecious (polygamo-dioecious; the heads either staminate or primarily pistillate) and in its distinctive cypselar vestiture. It is further recognized by its combination of rhizomatous habit, subclasping-decurrent, bicolor, revolute leaves, and distally white phyllaries. Segregate species and varieties have been described among the North American plants (in addition to the two cited above), based on variation in habit, vestiture, and leaf morphology and density, but the variants appear to be more like a complex series of ecotypes rather than broader evolutionary entities.
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