Species Profile

Stoloniferous Pussytoes

Scientific Name: Antennaria flagellaris
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: British Columbia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2004
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Stoloniferous Pussytoes

Stoloniferous Pussytoes Photo 1



The Stoloniferous Pussytoes is a small perennial that gets its name from its stolons, or horizontal stems, by which it propagates outwards from its clump of fine roots. The stolons are up to 10 cm long, while the few central flowering stems are up to 3.5 cm tall. The leaves are narrow and elongated, sometimes flaring slightly at the tip. They are 1 to 3 cm long and covered with fine, woolly hairs. The plant has numerous leaves at the base, but few stem leaves. The flowers are grouped in heads at the tops of the stems. Depending on the plant, the heads are composed either entirely of female flowers measuring 5 to 7 mm, or entirely of smaller, male flowers measuring 3 to 4.5 mm. The flower heads are accompanied by leaves called bracts. In the female flowers, the bracts are tinged brown or reddish-brown, are 7 to 13 mm long, and have thin, woolly hairs below. In the male flowers, the bracts are brownish at the tips, translucent and 4 to 7 mm long. The Stoloniferous Pussytoes produces dry fruits called achenes that are 2 to 3 mm long. They are elliptical and have small, wartlike bumps on their surface. Each achene contains a single seed. The mature achenes have numerous fine white silky hairs, 6 to 8 mm long.


Distribution and Population

The Stoloniferous Pussytoes ranges from southwestern British Columbia south into Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and California in the western United States. In Canada, the species has been observed only in the Similkameen River Valley, southwest of Princeton, in southwestern British Columbia. Three populations of Stoloniferous Pussytoes have been found in the Similkameen River Valley along a 3.2-km stretch of Highway 3. In 2003, these populations comprised roughly a million plants, occupying a total area of approximately 2200 m2. To date, close to 30% of the potential habitat of this species has yet to be surveyed.



In Canada, the Stoloniferous Pussytoes grows on eroded, unstable slopes that face south and have a pitch of 20 to 30%. The three sites are confined to chalky clay soils and characterized by seasonal seepage. These soils are saturated by groundwater in winter and dry up in summer. Few species can tolerate the conditions in these ephemeral habitats, which are unique in the Princeton area. Consequently, this species dominates the sparse vegetation on these disturbed slopes. Not far from these sites, the vegetation is characterized by scrub steppe dominated by big sagebrush with scattered ponderosa pines and Douglas-fir.



Little information is available on the biology and ecology of the Stoloniferous Pussytoes in British Columbia; some basic facts about its reproduction are all that has been compiled. The Stoloniferous Pussytoes is a perennial and is dioecious, meaning that the male and female flowers occur on separate plants. The female flowers are pollinated by the wind. The species thus produces seeds by sexual reproduction. The plants with female flowers produce dry fruits, called achenes, which are dispersed by the wind. This dispersal is facilitated by the numerous hairlike bristles on the mature fruit. The plant can also propagate vegetatively by producing stolons that terminate in plantlets. These young plants eventually become independent as the stolons connecting them to the mother plant become severed over time. This mode of reproduction results in very limited dispersal, because the stolons grow to no more than 10 cm long. The average lifespan of the individual plants is short.



The main factor threatening the populations of Stoloniferous Pussytoes is the smallness of the area that they occupy. Also, because the habitats suitable for this species are extremely restricted, the opportunities for colonization and expansion are correspondingly limited. Another threat facing this species is the possible impact of the recreational use of all-terrain vehicles. Some signs of use of these vehicles have been observed near the sites. Such activity could disturb the habitat sufficiently to make it inhospitable for the Stoloniferous Pussytoes but welcoming for invasive species. The three Canadian populations of Stoloniferous Pussytoes are located on two private properties within British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve. Recently, the area has seen an increase in residential construction and the owners of these lands might conceivably apply in future to have them taken out of the reserve for development, especially since their soil is not highly suitable for agriculture. Some of the activities that are currently allowed in the reserve may also threaten the persistence of this species. The measures used to control weeds along power transmission lines constitute another potential threat for the Stoloniferous Pussytoes populations located less than 150 m from the lines. Lastly, the potential development of coalbed methane from deposits underlying the region around Princeton could seriously disturb the habitat of this species.



Federal Protection

The Stoloniferous Pussytoes is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

At present, the Stoloniferous Pussytoes is not protected by any provincial laws in British Columbia. However, the populations in this province are partly protected from certain kinds of development, because they are located on private properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Multi-species Recovery Strategy for the Princeton Landscape, including Dwarf Woolly-heads (Psilocarphus brevissimus) Southern Mountain Population, Slender Collomia (Collomia tenella), and Stoloniferous Pussytoes (Antennaria flagellaris) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

8 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the stoloniferous pussytoes Antennaris flagellaris in Canada (2004)

    Antennaris flagellaris was first recorded in the literature in Canada in 1998. Antennaria flagellaris is a stoloniferous, short-lived perennial from a fibrous root. The stolons are up to 10 cm long while the few central flowering stems are up to 3.5 cm tall. It has numerous silky woolly-hairy basal leaves and few stem leaves. The flower heads are terminal with involucres of two types: female and male. Fruits are achenes.

COSEWIC Assessments

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Stoloniferous Pussytoes (2004)

    A short-lived perennial plant present at only three geographically restricted localities occupying very small areas of specialized habitat of ephemerally moist seepage sites on private lands. It is at greatest risk from ATV use that currently is evident in close proximity to the populations. It may also be impacted by changes in ground water hydrology and surface impacts from increased development activities in the area such as the proposed production of coalbed methane.

Recovery Strategies


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (2005)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.