Pseudognaphalium macounii (Greene) Kartesz

Remark The words or terms in red (actually dark orange) in the text are defined in a glossary.

sep_02_04.gthmb can't be loaded. Pseudognaphalium macounii are annual or biennial plants that are native to North America; they are often sweetly fragrant; they are from 40 to 90 cm high; the plants are taprooted.

Pseudognaphalium macounii belongs to the Asteraceae family.


In Greek, γναφαλιον (gnaphalion) is a plant described by Pedanius Dioscorides, (3,132), the Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist from Anazarbus (Cilicia, Asia Minor) who practised in ancient Rome during the time of Nero. He wrote one of the most influential herbal books in history, Materia medica, a book that remained in use until the Renaissance. The French name of the plant is cotonnière. a cottony plant; it is a plant that was used to fill up mattresses.

In Greek, ψευδησ (pseudês) means false, so that the genus name refers to a plant that is a bit like the Ganphalium but differs somewhat from it. For botanists, the Pseudognaphalium genus is distinguished from Gnaphalium genus because it includes annual, biannual or perennial herbs, with oblong or campanulate heads, monochromous involucral bracts as well as for having female florets more numerous than disc-florets, disposed in two or more series.

John Macoun was born in Magheralin, County Down, Ireland in 1831. In 1850 the worsening economic situation in Ireland led his family to emigrate to Canada, where he settled in Seymour Township, Ontario and began farming. Unsatisfied as a farmer, he became a school teacher in 1856. It was during this time that he developed a nearly obsessive interest in botany. Although his formal education was slight, his knowledge and dedication to field work became sufficiently advanced that he gained the notice and respect of several professional botanists. This allowed him in 1868 to secure a faculty position as a Professor of Botany and Geology at St. Alberts College in Belleville. He was a prolific collector and cataloguer of Canadian flora and fauna. Macoun died 18 July 1920. The epithet given to the species honors his memory.

Common names

Some of the vernacular names of Pseudognaphalium macounii are Clammy Everlasting, Viscid Cudweed, Northern Cudweed, Balsamweed, Balsam weed, Balsam-weed, Macoun's cudweed, Life everlasting, Sweet balsam, White everlasting, Winged cudweed, Everlasting and Macoun's Rabbit Tobacco. The French common names are Gnaphale de Macoun and Gnaphale visqueuse.


Pseudognaphalium macounii has also been known as:


Species similar to Pseudognaphalium macounii are Anaphalis margaritacea. But the flower heads of the later are more attractive with dry, petal like white bracts.

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Pseudognaphalium macounii is also very similar to Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium. Pseudognaphalium macounii is recognized by its stipitate-glandular, proximally glabrescent stems, bicolor and decurrent leaves, relatively large and many-flowered heads, and hyaline, shiny phyllaries. The leaves of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium are sessile, but not decurrent, and the plant lacks the glandular hairs. Furthermore, the flower heads of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium are more elongate and pointed at the apex.


Pseudognaphalium macounii has unattractive, white, barrel-shaped flowers, arranged in terminal clusters. Its stem and leaves are woolly.


Flower heads



Pseudognaphalium macounii is found in fields and pastures or woodland clearings and margins, along roadsides, in sunny areas and dry soil.


map_na.jpg can't be loaded. Pseudognaphalium macounii is found in all of the southern Canada and in most of the USA. The maps shows the Canadian provinces and USA states where the plant can be found.


Native Americans used Pseudognaphalium macounii for colds, sweat bath for various disease and considered one of their most valuable medical plants.

Indians of the Yosemite Region used the pungent leaves of Pseudognaphalium macounii as a poultice on any swelling; the flowers and leaves were used after heating them in a fire to make them sticky. A decoction of the leaves was drunk for colds and stomach trouble.


The photos of the gallery were taken either with one of the following: Minolta DiMAGE 7, Canon PowerShot A530, Canon Xt Rebel, usually with the EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM objective, Fujifilm A 610 and EPSON Perfection 1650 (scanner). The title in the window shows the date when the picture was taken, i.e. jan_30_06... would mean that the photo was taken on the 30th of January, the 06 is for the 6th picture taken that day. The month, day and picture number might be followed by a letter which I use to identify the system used to take the picture.

Click on the thumbnails to get larger view. The original photos are usually in TIFF format, the photos shown are generally in JPEG format, often of dimensions one half (surface one quarter) for loading time reduction.

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