Pale-Flowered Leaf Cup

Polymnia canadensis


Photo of leaf cup flower
Lew Diehl,
Other Common Name
Leaf Cup; Whiteflower Leafcup; Small-Flowered Leaf Cup; Canadian Leaf Cup

Asteraceae (daisies)


Leaf cup is a tall, straight perennial with gland-tipped or sticky hairs toward the stem tips. The flowerheads are single or few in open clusters. The ray florets are white, short, with toothed ends; usually 8. The disk florets are yellow and sterile. Blooms May–October. Leaves with short stalks or stalkless, with 3–5 toothed, long-stalked lobes in a pinnate (featherlike) configuration. The bases of larger leaves often have 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, giving this plant its common name. Leaves are bluish green and very soft.


Height: to 5 feet.

Habitat and conservation

Leaf cup often occurs in large colonies along stream terraces. It is 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.