Antennaria sp.
Antennaria plantagifolia

Zone: 3 to 8

Soil: sand to loam and maybe clay

Light: Full sun to part sun

Bloom colour: White

Bloom period: May

Height: Up to 10 inches

Moisture: Dry

Attracts: Painted Lady butterflies.

Notes: Plantain pussytoes featured here is native to the eastern half of North America. It is tough plant with leaves that are almost evergreen and which hug the ground helping to block weeds. The plant is also allelopathic. It releases phenolic substances into the soil that inhibit the germination of seeds and the growth of seedlings. The plant blooms in May on stalks up to 10 inches high. The flowers are white and non-distinctive. They are not particularly attractive to pollinators with the primary visitors being flies. However, the plant is a host to American Painted Lady butterflies. The caterpillars may not be noticeable at first because they fold up leaves around them to form tents. Storms in the mid-west blow these butterflies into Ontario in mid-spring and when they arrive, they need plants that have already got leaves. That is when Antennaria becomes an important food source.

These plants spread by stolons and by seeds are that get blown around on little tufts of hair. These plants are not particularly attractive on their own and I would not make them a focal point in the garden. The plant does well in part shade and can be positioned underneath shrubs to cut down on weeding where they would make a decent accompanying groundcover. They are easy to grow as long as the drainage is good so a sandy soil or loam soil is required.

Antennaria plantagifolia
Antennaria flower
Antennaria flowers are atypical with parts hard to distinguish.
American painted lady laying an egg on Antennaria
American Lady laying an egg on Antennaria
America painted lady
American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis
American painted lady caterpillar American painted lady parasitoid
Caterpillar of the American Lady Parasitoid of the American lady caterpillar.