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Whiteflower Leafcup, White Bear's Foot, Smallflower Leafcup - Polymnia canadensis


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Leafcup Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Polymnia canadensis - Whiteflower Leafcup, White Bear's Foot, Smallflower Leafcup. Common woodland wildflower of early- to mid-summer.

There are four species of Polymnia. (A 5th, Polymnia uvedalia, is now classified as Smallanthus uvedalia - Yellow Leafcup.) Three of the Polymnia species are found in the United States. P. cossatotensis - Cossatot Mountain Leafcup - is found only in Arkansas. P. laevigata - Tennessee Leafcup - is found in 6 of the states in which White Leafcup - Polymnia canadensis is found. Polymnia canadensis is found in many states in the eastern half of the country, and is also found in Ontario, Canada. It is Endangered in Connecticut and Vermont.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NY, OH, OK, PA, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV

Journal Articles Referencing Leafcup

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Polymnia canadensis

Distribution of Polymnia canadensis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 21 Oct 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2009-June-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Smallflower Leafcup may have only a few white ray florets or it may have many, as in this photo (and as described in Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians.) Flora of North America describes Polymnia based on a 1965 study which found only 2 to 6 ray florets.
Polymnia canadensis

Site: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Dade County, GA Date: 2013-July-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The white ray florets of Polymnia canadensis are 3-lobed. The white ray florets surround up to 30 or more yellow disc florets. The disc florets are sterile.
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Polymnia canadensis

Site: Blue Hole Area, Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2011-July-16Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Pigeon Mountain East (Blue hole) Whiteflower Leafcup usually has less densely-packed ray florets than are shown in the other blossom photos on this page.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Polymnia canadensis

Site: Blue Hole Area, Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2011-July-16Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Whiteflower Leafcup grows up to 5 or 6 feet tall.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Polymnia canadensis

Site: Blue Hole Area, Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2011-July-16Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The stems, especially the upper stem and the petioles, of Polymnia canadensis are hairy. Similar Polymnia laevigata is usually glabrous except perhaps in the inflorescence.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Polymnia canadensis

Site: Pigeon Mountain Blue Hole Area, Walker County, GA Date: 2011-July-16Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Whiteflower Leafcup are opposite and petiolate. The lower leaves are deeply pinnately lobed; the upper leaves may have no lobes at all, and may be nearly sessile. Polymnia canadensis will usually have 2 or 3 lobes on each side of the lower leaves. Similar Polymnia laevigata usually has 5 or more lobes on each side of the lower leaves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Polymnia canadensis

References used for identification and information:

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer