I enjoy defining a question and chasing down the answer. Since life is full of questions, at times they compile faster than I can resolve them. One of these involved a plant I saw near the Pine Cottage on the Penn State University Park campus years ago. It has fuzzy, cottony, white flowers and foliage of many shapes, with the most striking being a duck foot. I took a few pictures of it, vowed to figure out its identity someday, and carried on with my busy day.
Yesterday I visited Stephanie Cohen, and she showed me her elaborate gardens (humorously named Shortwood Gardens, an homage to Longwood Gardens). It was great to talk plants for a while and catch up. As we walked through her extensive plant collection she pointed out a specimen and remarked that it was a Baccharis species. And suddenly my mystery plant from Pine Cottage came to mind.
Many species of Baccharis exist. I believe my mystery plant is Baccharis halmifolia, which has a host of common names. Some of my favorites include consumption weed and cotton-seed tree.
I like finding answers and resolution.