This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Woolly erect or diffusely branched herbs, with alternate leaves, and discoid heads of pistillate and perfect flowers arranged in corymbs, spikes, racemes, or capitate. Receptacle flat, concex or conic, not chaffy, usually foveolate. Pistillate flowers in several series, their corollas filiform, minutely dentate or 3-4-lobed. Central flowers perfect, tubular, few, their corollas 5-toothed or 5-lobed. Anthers sagittate at the base, the auricles tailed. Achenes oblong or obovate, terete or slightly compressed, not ribbed. Pappus a single series of capillary bristles, sometimes thickened above. [Greek, referring to the wool.]
About 120 species, widely distributed. Type species: Gnaphalium luteo-album L.
1. Pappus-bristles distinct. Tall, erect; inflorescence corymbose, or paniculate. Leaves sessile; plant not viscid.
1. G. obtusifolium.
Leaves sessile; plant glandular-viscid.
2. G. Helleri.
Leaves decurrent; plant glandular-viscid.
3. G. decurrens.
Low, diffuse; inflorescence mostly capitate; pappus-bristles distinct. Floccose-woolly; involucral bracts yellowish, or white..
4. G. palustre.
Appressed-woolly; involucral bracts becoming dark brown.
5. G. uhginosum.
Tufted low mountain herbs; heads few; bracts brown; pappus-bristles distinct.
6. G. supinum.
2. Slender, simple; heads spicate; pappus-bristles united at base. Leaves linear or lanceolate-spatulate, acute; heads about 3" high; northeastern. Bracts dark brown; stem leaves lanceolate-spatulate.
7. G. norvegicum.
Bracts brownish tipped; stem leaves linear.
8. G. sylvaticum.
Leaves spatulate, obtuse or obtusish: heads 2"-21/2" high; eastern and southern.
9. G. purpureum.
Gnaphalium obtusifolium L. Sp. Pl. 851. 1753.
G. polycephalum Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 127. 1803.
Annual or winter-annual, fragrant; stem erect, simple, or branched above, tomentose, 1°-3° high. Leaves lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, sessile, acute or acutish, or the lower obtuse at the apex, narrowed at the base, densely white-woolly beneath, glabrate and commonly dark green above, 1'-3' long,2"-4" wide, the margins undulate; heads in numerous corymbose or paniculate clusters of 1-5, about 3" high; bracts of the involucre white, or tinged with brown, oblong, thin and scarious, obtuse, the outer woolly at the base; pappus-bristles distinct, separately deciduous; achenes glabrous.
In dry, mostly open places, Nova Scotia to Florida, Manitoba, Kansas and Texas. Jamaica. Poverty-, chafe- or balsam-weed. Old-field balsam. Indian-posy. Feather-weed. Fussy-gussy. Rabbit-tobacco. Life-of-man. Moonshine. Leaves of rosettes oblong. Aug.-Sept.
G. polycephalum Helleri Fernald, Rhodora 10: 94. 1908.
Similar to the preceding species, corymbosely or somewhat paniculately branched above, 1 1/2°-2° high, the stem and branches densely glandular-pubescent, not tomentose. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, sessile, acuminate at both ends, green and hispidulous above, white-tomentose beneath, the larger about 2' long and 5" wide, the uppermost much smaller and narrower; heads very numerous, corymbose or corymbose-paniculate, sessile or short-peduncled in the clusters, about 2 1/2" broad; involucre oblong, or becoming campanulate, 3" high, its bracts bright white, tomentose, the outer oblong, the inner linear-oblong, all obtuse; pappus-bristles distinct; achenes glabrous.
In fields and woods, New York and New Jersey to Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia. Sept.-Oct.