Gnaphalium conoideum Lam.
Gnaphalium obtusifolium L.
Gnaphalium polycephalum helleri (Britton) Fernald
Gnaphalium saxicola Fassett
Common Name: White Balsam
Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium is a usually erect, annual plant growing from a taproot; the stem can be 10 - 100cm long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Eastern and central N. America - Minnesota, through Ontario to Nova Scotia, south to Texas and Florida
Pine woods and clearings[
] in dry open habitats[
]. Open sites, often disturbed, roadsides, fields, pastures, open woods, in various soils, most abundantly in sand; at elevations from 5 - 200 metres[
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Requires a dry soil in an open sunny position[
]. Tolerant of a range of soils in the wild, with a preference for sandy soils[
Plants are sometimes grown in the wild garden[
The leaves have a pleasant aromatic smell and an aromatic, slightly bitter, astringent agreeable taste[
The whole plant is anaphrodisiac, antiphlogistic, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant, vermifuge[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of throat ulcers, chest complaints, intestinal and respiratory catarrh etc[
, 254. and is also applied externally as a poultice to bruises, indolent tumours etc[
A tea made from the leaves and flowers is a mild nerve sedative, diuretic and antispasmodic[
The fresh juice is considered to be aphrodisiac[
]. It is anaphrodisiac according to another report[
The aromatic dried flowers are used as a filling for pillows, having a sedative effect which is beneficial to consumptives[
A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[
]. This has proved to be of benefit in the treatment of sciatica, lumbago and some forms of arthritis[
The plant is used as an insect repellent, it is placed in bedmats, books etc[
] and in the linen cupboard[
The flower heads are used as a stuffing material for mattresses[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.