Gynoecious (staminate plants very uncommon). Plants (6-)8-35 cm (stems sometimes stipitate-glandular). Stolons 1-9(-12) cm. Basal leaves 1-nerved, spatulate to oblanceolate, spatulate-obovate, narrowly to broadly ovate, or cuneate-oblanceolate, 20-48(-65) × 2.5-20 mm, tips mucronate, faces abaxially tomentose, adaxially green-glabrous or gray-pubescent. Cauline leaves linear, 8-40 mm, distal sometimes flagged (apices acute). Heads 3-15 in corymbiform arrays. Involucres: staminate 6-6.5 mm; pistillate 6-11 mm. Phyllaries (bases sometimes rose) distally white, cream, or light brown. Corollas: staminate 3-4 mm; pistillate 3.5-6.5(-8) mm. Cypselae 0.8-2 mm, ± papillate; pappi: staminate 4-4.5 mm; pistillate 5.5-9 mm. 2n = 56, 84, 140 (under A. neodioica).
The Antennaria howellii (previously A. neodioica) polyploid complex is highly variable morphologically; four more or less distinct subspecies can be recognized within it. The sexual progenitors of the complex are A. neglecta, A. plantaginifolia, A. racemosa, and A. virginica (see R. J. Bayer 1985). Antennaria marginata may also be a minor contributor to the origins of the complex. A. Cronquist (H. A. Gleason and Cronquist 1991) included members of this complex in A. neglecta; I maintain, because these apomicts are of hybrid polyploid origin from among multiple sexual progenitors, they best not be included within the circumscription of any one sexual progenitor (Bayer 1989d).
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
In dry clay or sandy soil in open places in woodland and pastures and along roadsides. This species is more northern than the preceding one [Antennaria neglecta] and is restricted mostly to the northern part of the state. I have not seen any staminate plants.
Indiana Coefficient of Conservatism: C = 3
Wetland Indicator Status: N/A
Diagnostic Traits: Stoloniferous; larger leaves <1.5 cm wide, having one prominent mid-vein, the pair of lateral veins absent or partial, upper surface glabrate; plants female (apomictic); phyllaries whitish distally; ray flowers lacking. According to FNA there are three subspecies in Indiana: subsp. canadensis, neodioica, and petaloidea. Subsp. neodioica is the most common one.