About pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)
Maryland Distribution: poor soils of dry fields, slopes, and woodland edges throughout the state
Height: foliage to 2 inches, flowering stems to 9 inches
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.