Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Heller's Rabbit-tobacco - Pseudognaphalium helleri   (Britton) Anderberg
Members of Asteraceae:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(Britton) Anderberg
DistributionAlmost restricted to the Piedmont; very local in the Sandhills. Not present in the Piedmont foothills.

South-central VA to OK, south to northern FL and TX.
AbundanceUncommon and somewhat local in the range, but not an overly rare plant. Though listed as Significantly Rare by the NCNHP, it perhaps could be moved to Watch List, having been recorded now from 26 counties.
HabitatOpenings and edges in dry oak-hickory and pine-oak-hickory woodlands, barrens, glades, powerline clearings; loamy sand of Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass bean dips. Tends to favor only slightly acidic to somewhat circumneutral soil, but certainly it is not strongly tied to soils over mafic rocks.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September-October; one of the latest plants to flower in the Piedmont, often not until mid-October.
IdentificationHeller's Rabbit-tobacco grows 1-2.5 feet tall, the greenish stems soft hairy and with stalked glands. Leaves are narrow, lance-shaped, and without stalks, the undersides pale gray with soft hairs; both sides with stalked glands. The heads are roundish or ovate, white with cottony hairs, and lack ray florets. Delicate Rabbit-tobacco (P. micradenium) is very similar, but differs in much shorter and less spreading stem hairs, narrower leaves (2-10 mm wide vs. 4-20 mm wide), and generally shorter stature (maximum of 2 feet). These two plants are easily separated from the abundant Fragrant Rabbit-tobacco (P. obtusifolium), which has rather smooth and strikingly white stems. If in doubt, squeeze the stem; the two scarce species have sticky glands that give off a pleasant fragrance to your fingers.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts, treated as Gnaphalium helleri. Many to most references did not, or do not, consider this and Delicate Rabbit-tobacco to be distinct species. Early references had them lumped, whereas many have them only as varieties.

Other Common Name(s)Heller's Cudweed
State RankS3
Global RankG4G5T3T4 [G3G4]
State StatusSR-P [W]
US Status
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