May. 9, 2020

Canadian pussytoes, Antennaria howellii

It was impossible to tell what the tiny projecting bits were with the naked eye. Maybe the flowers were done, and they were buts of fuzz coming loose? At home, on the larger screen, it was clear they are pistils. This is a pussytoe in its prime. These fuzzy little flower heads, less than an inch high, are chock full of complexities. Those are indeed pistils, but they probably don't do anything. Pussytoes are unisexual. Staminate plants of Canadian pussytoes are few and far. Most reproduction of these is vegetative, with stems that run along the ground and root. After that, they mostly produce seed without being fertilized. Seeds from fertilized ovaries rarely happen. Hope springs eternal, but these pistils are doomed for disappointment. I walked around several acres at this site, and could find no male plants. All that short fine stuff below the pistils is filaments attached to the ovaries, as with dandelions. It will help wind disperse seeds, if they happen. Canadian pussytoes grows in mostly open, low nutrient sites in CA, CO, CT, DE, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, across Canada except for LB, and on SPM. Lenawee Co MI, 5/7/20. Aster family, Asteraceae.