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Antennaria dioica - (L.)Gaertn.                
Common Name Catsfoot, Stoloniferous pussytoes
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Allergic reaction may occur in subjects sensitive to rag weed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies. May increase blood pressure. Safety during pregnancy is not known [301].
Habitats Mountain grassland, heaths, dry pastures and woodland edges, usually on calcareous soils[9, 13, 17].
Range Northern and central Europe, including Britain, to Siberia and W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Antennaria dioica is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Apomictic.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Synonyms Gnaphalium dioicum. Antennaria hibernica. Antennaria insularis. Cyttarium dioicum.
Antennaria dioica Catsfoot, Stoloniferous pussytoes

Antennaria dioica Catsfoot, Stoloniferous pussytoes
 Ground Cover;
Edible Uses                                         
None known
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antitussive;  Astringent;  Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Emollient.

Catsfoot has been little used in herbal medicine though it was once used in mixtures for the treatment of bronchitis and bilious conditions[268]. The whole plant is antitussive, astringent, cholagogue, discutient, diuretic and emollient[4, 7, 9, 21]. The plant is very rich in mucilage which makes it very valuable in the treatment of chest complaints[7]. It is also used in the treatment of liver and gall bladder complaints, hepatitis and diarrhoea[238]. Externally it is used as a gargle for treating tonsillitis and as a douche for vaginitis[238]. The herb is gathered in May before it comes into flower and can be dried for later use[7].
Other Uses
A good ground cover plant for sunny positions. Rather slow to spread, however, and it requires weeding for at least the first year[197]. Plants form a carpet and root as they spread[208].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a light well-drained soil in full sun, succeeding in poor soils[1, 133, 200]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. This species is very susceptible to slug damage, the young growth in spring is particularly at risk[K]. Tolerates light treading[200]. The flowers are sometimes cut and used as 'everlasting flowers' since they dry well and keep their colour[7]. Plants are usually dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Some male plants have a few hermaphrodite flowers, though these are usually sterile. Apomictic flowers are also produced[17], these produce seed without sexual fertilization, each seedling being a clone of the parent plant.
Seed - sow spring in cold frame and only just cover the seed. Do not allow the soil to dry out. The seed germinates in 1 -2 months at 15°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in late spring of the following year[K]. Division in spring or autumn. Fairly easy, the divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[133]Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
[190]Chatto. B. The Dry Garden.
A good list of drought resistant plants with details on how to grow them.
[197]Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants.
A handy little booklet from the R.H.S.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[208]Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover
An excellent detailled book on the subject, very comprehensive.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[268]Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
jackie smothers Sun Jul 22 2007
i like this site but i do have question about this herb catsfoot friend told me about it but need to know for sure is this the herb forcleaning out your lungs of flim and tar from smokingand if so where can i get it?
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