Leaf Cup (Pale-Flowered Leaf Cup)

Polymnia canadensis


Photo of leaf cup flower
Lew Diehl, Bugwood.org

Asteraceae (daisies)


A tall, straight perennial, with gland-tipped or sticky hairs toward the stem tips. Flowerheads single, or few in open clusters. Ray florets white, short, with toothed ends, usually 8. Disk florets yellow, sterile. Blooms May–October. Leaves with short stalks or stalkless, with 3–5 toothed, long-stalked lobes in a pinnate (featherlike) configuration. Bases of larger leaves often with rounded, leaflike appendages at the leaf stem base, wrapping around the plant stem. The appendages at the bases of a pair of opposite leaves together form a "cup" around the node. Leaves are bluish green and very soft.


Height: to 5 feet.

Habitat and conservation

Often occurs in large colonies along stream terraces. Also common in moist, shaded areas in loose rubble at the bases of steep, rocky slopes or bluffs.

image of Leaf Cup Pale-Flowered Leaf Cup distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Scattered in the Ozark and Ozark Border divisions of southern and central Missouri. Also in some additional counties along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

Human connections

The unusual "leaf cups" at the base of the leaves of this plant represent the countless variations in the plant world. Botanists are people who study plants in all their variety. This helps humans by increasing our knowledge of environmental issues, crop production, biochemicals, and much more.

Ecosystem connections

Plants, like this perennial in the daisy family, colonize rocky areas and over time make those areas more hospitable to other plants. Their leaves and seeds are eaten by a variety of animals.