plantain-leaf pussytoes - native groundcover plant

Plantain-leaf pussytoes. Photo: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

Updated: March 19, 2021

About pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)

Perennial Forb
Daisy Family

Maryland Distribution: poor soils of dry fields, slopes, and woodland edges throughout the state

Height: foliage to 2 inches, flowering stems to 9 inches

native pussytoes plant in a garden

Pussytoes groundcover on the left

Blooms: dioecious; April to June

Sun: part shade to part sun

Soil: well-drained, poor, dry

Garden Use & Maintenance: Attractive, semi-evergreen foliage. Stolons spread slowly to form an ideal groundcover. The foliage has a gray cast and distinctive parallel veins. In spring, little flower clusters reminiscent of kitten toes emerge at the top of single stems. The flowers are charming but not showy, and attract tiny pollinators and beneficial insects. Some gardeners trim spent flowering stalks back. More laissez-faire gardeners just wait a few weeks, the spent stems will recline on their own.

Wildlife: Host plant for the American Lady butterfly. Those gardeners lucky enough to host the showy, spiny caterpillars will notice leaves that have been knit together to form shelters, damage from chewing, and possibly some frass. This will cause foliage to be less attractive for two or three weeks, but the plants recover quickly.

Deer proof

Additional resource

Publications for Gardeners | Maryland Native Plant Society