WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Often a mat-forming groundcover with a dense basal rosette and hairy stems to 12 inches tall, this highly variable plant has female (pistillate) flowers only. It spreads by stolons to form clonal colonies. Note the arrays of 3/8 inch long flowers with red to white or brown phyllaries (bracts) tightly clasping the heads. Ranging from the Southwest to Alaska and across Canada, and from sea level to above treeline, this is the most widespread Antennaria in North America, and the most genetically complex. The species has genes derived from six separate sexually reproducing species.


FLOWER: May–August. Tight clusters of small heads, flowers tiny and obscured by thick tufts of erect, white bristles, bracts reddish to brownish bracts; seeds produced asexually.


LEAVES: Basal and alternate on stem; blades 1-nerved, oval to spatula-shaped, 1 3/8 inches long; upper surface gray-hairy, bottom hairless, margins entire, tips pointed; stems leaves smaller.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, wet to dry soils; woodlands, canyons, slopes, streamsides, meadows, roadsides; pinyon-juniper, ponderosa/yellow pine, Douglas fir-aspen, mixed conifer, spruce-fir forests, alpine tundra and fell-fields.


ELEVATION: 6,000–13,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, UT; widespread in Rocky Mt. states and westward.


SIMILAR SPECIES: New Mexico has two subspecies with minute flower and leaf differences: subsp. confinis and subsp. arida. Pussytoes, A. parvifolia, in the same range, has 4-inch tall stems, leaves with both surfaces densely hairy, and tiny, woolly-white flower heads. White-margin Pussytoes, A. marginata, in the same range, has bright-green basal leaves with no hair on the upper surface and contrasting white-woolly margins, and white-tipped phyllaries.


NM COUNTIES: In northern half of NM in mid- to high-elevation habitats: Cibola, Colfax, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Taos, Union.

ROSY  PUSSYTOES

ANTENNARIA   ROSEA

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Perennial herb

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Rows of reddish to brown bracts surround tufts of white bristles. All flowers tend to be female, that produce seeds asexually.

Stems with narrow, alternate leaves reach 12 inches tall from a basal rosette of leaves.