Its oddity tempts one to take a few plants to the home flower garden when first seeing a patch of this weed. Stems five to fifteen inches high, simple or branching from the base, the whole plant grayish white with soft woolly hair. Leaves alternate and crowded thick on the stem, lance-shaped, sessile, acute, erect, less than an inch long. At the top of the stalk is bunched a dense cluster of white-woolly discoid flower-heads, from among which rise several short, leafy branches, like the stalk below but more slender, and these in turn may have a bunch of woolly flower-heads and more leafy branches terminated by more woolly blossoms. For this odd habit of bloom it is called Childing Cudweed, and the early botanists named it Herba Impia because the children so undutifully exalted themselves above their mother. (Fig. 306.)
The lowest cluster of flower-heads ripens first, and in order to keep them from reproduction the plants must be cut as soon as these appear, before any "children" overtop them.