Howell’s pussytoes

(Antennaria howellii)

Howell’s pussytoes (ssp. neodioica)
Photo by Luciearl

Howell’s pussytoes is an evergreen woolly wildflower. It occurs across North America, mostly in the northern half of the United States and the southern half of Canada. It is common in Minnesota. It is found in prairies, fields, and woodland openings; on rock ledges and outcrops; and on shores, roadsides, and lawns. It grows under full sun in dry to moderately moist sandy soil.

Howell’s pussytoes flowers in mid-spring to early summer. Male plants are very uncommon. When no male plants are present, fertilization does not take place and only female plants are produced. This results in some populations being composed entirely of female plants.


Howell’s pussytoes is a highly variable species with four subspecies, three of which occur in Minnesota. Basal leaves are 916 to 1 (14 to 48 mm) long, and to ¾ (2.5 to 20.0 mm) wide. There is usually just a single vein extending from the base to the tip. Sometimes there is also a pair of obscure partial veins that can best be seen on the underside. The lower surface is densely covered with white, short, matted or tangled, soft, woolly hairs. Sometimes there is a short, papery extension (flag) at the tip of only the stem leaves near the inflorescence. Middle and other upper stem leaves are not flagged. The bracts of the involucre (phyllaries) are white, cream-colored, or light brown at the tip.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30,

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Asterodae  
  Tribe Gnaphalieae (paper daisies)  
  Genus Antennaria (pussytoes)  

Subordinate Taxa


Canadian pussytoes (Antennaria howellii ssp. canadensis)

Howell’s pussytoes (Antennaria howellii ssp. howellii)

Howell’s pussytoes (Antennaria howellii ssp. neodioica)

Howell’s pussytoes (Antennaria howellii ssp. petaloidea)






Common Names


Howell’s pussytoes

small pussytoes












A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.



An individual bract within the involucre of a plant in the Asteraceae family.

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Created: 6/21/2022

Last Updated:

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