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Antennaria nordhageniana

Antennaria nordhageniana

  • Family: Daisy Family – Compositae, subfamily Asteroideae
    (formerly Aster Family – Asteraceae)
  • Growing form: Perennial herb.
  • Height: 5–30 cm (2–12 in.). Stem unbranched, almost glabrous, red. With runners, forming mat-like stands.
  • Flower: Dioecious (male and female flowers on different individuals), female plants occurring more than male. Single flower-like capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum lacks ray-florets; disk florets white or pink, tubular. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlapping, base usually greenish brown, glabrous–scantly haired, tip membranous, either tongue-like with quite tapering tip and white–pink (female shoots) or elliptic, round-tipped and white with yellowish brown dots (male shoots). Capitula 1–3 in a compact globose group, pedicels short and with glandular hairs .
  • Leaves: In basal rosette and alternate on stem. Rosette leaf blade obovate, with quite tapering tip, glabrous, green on top, red particularly at base. Stem leaves 4–6, blade narrowly lanceolate, red-violet underside, uppermost with membranous tips.
  • Fruit: Achene, crowned by a pappus of unbranched hairs.
  • Habitat: Fell tundra moors, gravel slopes and solifluction.
  • Flowering time: July–August.
  • Endangerment: Endangered.

Antennaria nordhageniana (in English unnamed cat’s-foot, pussytoes or everlasting) internationally rare, a species that is native to northern Finland and Norway, and which doesn’t grow anywhere else in the world. Finnish stands are connected to the species’ other growing areas over the border in Norwegian Finnmark. The species grows very rarely in fell tundra moors, solifluction and gravels. Soon after the plant was described in Norway as a new species it was found in Finland, on Kovddoskaisi Fell, the highest fell that falls entirely within Finland. The species also grows in close proximity to Finland’s highest peak, Halti Fell, which is located at the Finnish-Norwegian border. There is still one stand on the Pais Fells in Utsjoki. All the stands are off the beaten track, so even many eager botanists have never seen the species. At the same time its lonely habitat protects its small population from human activity: it would probably disappear altogether if it was driven over a few times by quad bikes. A. nordhageniana is threatened in every country it grows in, and we in Finland have a great responsibility to ensure its survival.

Like its close relatives, A. nordhageniana is dioecious, but it propogates itself like its other fell relatives, apomictically. One important identification marker is the colour of the tip of the capitulum’s scale-like leaves. Its involucral bracts are quite round-tipped and light-coloured, just like mountain everlasting (A. dioica), which grows in the same habitats and is common across Finland. The basal part of mountain everlasting’s involucral bracts are however hairy, while A. nordhageniana is glabrous. This lack of hair is typical of close relatives too: the underside of mountain everlasting’s leaves are densely felt-haired, but A. nordhageniana is almost glabrous. Alpine catsfoot (A. alpina group) is recognisable by its dark-tipped involucral bracts, and its leaves are usually hairy.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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