Catsfoot

Botanical Name : Antennaria dioca
Family: Asteraceae
Genus:     Antennaria
Species: A. dioica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Asterales

Synonyms: Life Everlasting. Mountain Everlasting. Gnaphalium dioicum (Linn.). Cudweed.

Common Names : Mountain Everlasting, Catsfoot, Cudweed or Stoloniferous Pussytoes

Habitat : Catsfoot is found in cool temperate regions of Europe and Asia, and also in North America in Alaska only.It is often found  to the coast level.

Description:
Catsfoot is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 10–20 cm tall, with a rosette of basal spoon-shaped leaves 4 cm long, and 1 cm broad at their broadest near the apex; and smaller leaves arranged spirally up the flowering stems. The flowers are produced in capitulae (flowerheads) 6–12 mm diameter with pale pink ray florets and darker pink disc florets.

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It is dioecious, but can also reproduce without fertilisation. It is found in groups which can be all-female colonies, all-male colonies, and also mixed colonies. The male plants have whiter flowerheads than female plants.

This plant derives its name from the antennae of a butterfly which the pappus hairs of the Staminate florets resemble.
It is the only British species, a small perennial with tufted or creeping leafly stalks and almost simple flowering stems, from 2 to 5 inches high. Lower leaves obovate or oblong, upper ones linear, white underneath or on both sides. Flowers early summer white and pinky, dioecious. In the males, inner bracts of the involucre have broad white petal-like tips, the females inner bracts narrow and white at tips, florets filiform with long protruding pappus to the achenes. Taste astringent odour pleasant and strongest in the female heads, male plant has white membraneous scales and the female rosecoloured. Gerard alludes to it as ‘Live for ever,’ and says:
‘When the flower hath long flourished and is waxen old, then comes there in the middest of the floure a certain brown yellow thrumme, such as is in the middest of the daisie, which floure being gathered when it is young may be kept in such manner (I meane in such freshness and well-liking) by the space of a whole year after in your chest or elsewhere, wherefore our English women have called it “Live Long,” or “Live-for ever,” which name doth aptly answer thiseffects.’

Another variety of Cudweed was called ‘Herbe Impious’ or ‘Wicked Cudweed,’ a variety
‘like unto the small Cudweed, but much larger and for the most part those floures which appeare first are the lowest and basest; and they are over topt by other floures, which come on younger branches, and grow higher as children seeking to overgrow or overtop their parents (as many wicked children do) for which cause it hath been called “Herbe Impious.” ‘

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: The whole herb

Constituents: Resin, volabile oil tanin and a bitter principle.

Discutient and used for its astringent properties, as a cure for quinsy, and mumps, said to be efficacious for bites of poisonous reptiles, and for looseness of bowels.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antennaria_dioica

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/catsfo38.html

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