Annuals or perennials, 20-70(-100+) cm; taprooted. Stems persistently tomentose, not glandular (2-3 mm diam. near bases). Leaf blades narrowly to broadly oblanceolate, mostly 2-4(-5) cm × 2-8(-15) mm, bases not clasping, not decurrent, margins flat, faces weakly bicolor, tomentose (adaxial less densely tomentose, sometimes sessile-glandular beneath tomentum). Heads usually in loose, corymbiform arrays. Involucres turbinate-campanulate, 4-5 mm. Phyllaries in 3-4 series, white (opaque to hyaline, dull to shiny), narrowly ovate-lanceolate, glabrous. Pistillate florets (16-)24-44. Bisexual florets (1-)2-5(-6), 5-6 more common in northern part of range. Cypselae ridged, weakly papillate-roughened. 2n = 28.
Flowering Aug-Nov(-Jan). Lava beds, rocky sites, grasslands, oak, pine-oak, and pine woodlands; 1100-2500(-2700) m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., N.Mex., Okla., Tex., Utah; Mexico.
Most plants of Pseudognaphalium canescens produce white, opaque, keeled, apiculate phyllaries; in the southern portion of its range (Jalisco southeastward) and scattered localities elsewhere, the phyllaries may be more hyaline and lack a pronounced keel and apiculum.
FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual to perennial herbs, to 50 cm tall, from a taproot; stems erect, much-branched, tomentose. Leaves: Alternate and sessile; blades 2-4 cm long, oblanceolate to linear, gray-tomentose on both sides, with flat, entire margins. Flowers: Flower heads discoid, arranged in open panicles comprised of many glomerulate clusters of flower heads at branch tips; involucre (ring of bracts wrapped around the flower head) bell-shaped, 4-6 mm high, the bracts (phyllaries) strongly overlapping in 3-4 series, pearly white, glabrous; florets all discs, the corollas yellowish. Fruits: Achenes ridged, warty; topped with a pappus of capillary bristles. Ecology: Found on dry rocky slopes, lava beds, grasslands, oak, pine-oak, and pine woodlands, from 3,500-8,500 ft (1067-2591 m); flowers May-November. Distribution: s CA and UT to OK and TX; south to MEX. Notes: A gray or silvery- green, often erect perennial herb with dense webs of hairs all over; the flower heads with semi-clear, white phyllaries and dense hairs and pappus, making heads appear dense-white with minute yellow and red stigmas. Distinguished from others in the genus by the top and bottom leaf surfaces being the same color and thick with matted hairs (tomentose); the leaf bases being sessile but not clasping (clasping in P. luteoalbum and P. stramineum) and not fusing to and running down stems (decurrent; leaves are decurrent in P. arizonicum). Ethnobotany: The ground, white flowers were inhaled for head colds, and the bruised leaves were made into a paste and used as a liniment. Etymology: Pseudognaphalium is false gnaphalium, the former genus name; canescens means covered with short gray or white hairs. Synonyms: Gnaphalium canescens, G. texanum Editor: LCrumbacher 2011, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2016