Plant: Perennial herb; to 42 cm tall Leaves: petiolate; blades broadly ovate, 3.5-15 cm long, 2-9 cm wide, attenuate at base, acute at apex, sparsely pubescent, becoming glabrate, distinctly 3 (-5)-veined, the margins with a few shallow lobes near base INFLORESCENCE: pedunculate, scapose; PEDUNCLES 4-20 cm long, sparsely pubescent to glabrous, sometimes appearing ridged to four-sided. SPIKES 3-24 cm long, interrupted near base; bracts broadly ovate, 1.5-4.5 mm long, broad scarious-margined; midvein glabrous Flowers: perfect; sepals broadly ovate to elliptic, 1.2-2.3 mm long, broadly scarious-margined, midvein glabrous; corolla lobes spreading or reflexed, ovate, 0.7-1.5 mm long; stamens 4 Fruit: capsules, breaking well below middle; SEEDS 6-many, irregular in shape, ca. 1.0 mm long, ca. 0.5 mm wide, olive-green to dark brown, the outer surface furrowed Misc: weed of wet areas; 650-2500 m (2200-8200 ft.); May-Oct Notes: Bracts ovate and 2-4mm long.Only one terminal spike. References: Kearney & Peebles; Arizona Flora. McDougall; Seed plants of Northern Arizona. ASU specimans. Huisinga, Kristin D. and Tina J. Ayers. 1999. Plantaginaceae. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).
Perennial herb with fibrous roots flowering stem 5 - 25 cm tall Leaves: basal, thick-stalked, 4 - 18 cm long, 1.5 - 11 cm wide, broadly elliptic to broadly egg-shaped with an abruptly contracted base, more or less parallel-veined, strongly veined, sometimes irregularly toothed, thick, sometimes minutely hairy. Inflorescence: a narrow, dense spike of many flowers, arising from a leafless stalk (scape), 5 - 30 cm long, less than 1 cm wide. Flowers: stalkless or nearly stalkless, whitish, subtended by broadly egg-shaped bracts, not fragrant. Bracts 2 - 4 mm long, prominently keeled. Stamens four, exserted, alternate with corolla lobes. Style one. Sepals: four, green, 1.5 - 2 mm long, rounded to egg-shaped, scarious-margined (dry, thin, and membranous), with a rounded keel. Fruit: a dehiscent capsule (circumscissile), brown to purplish, 2.5 - 4 mm long, diamond- to egg-shaped. Seeds six to thirty, about 1 mm long, wrinkled, plump. Corolla: four-lobed, whitish, less than 1 mm long, scarious (dry, thin, membranous). Lobes becoming reflexed, about 1 mm long.
Similar species: Plantago rugelii is similar but has purplish leafstalks and longer sepals (2.5 - 3 mm). Plantago media is also similar but has fragrant flowers and flat seeds.
Flowering: June to mid-September
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Eurasia. Frequent in waste ground and packed soil.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Plantago comes from the Latin word planta, meaning footprint. Major means larger.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
In moist or dry waste places. Rare in Indiana. It has been reported by many authors but I believe that most of the reports should be transferred to Plantago Rugelii, which without doubt occurs in every county of the state, although our early authors failed to report it. I collected an abnormal specimen of Plantago major on a knoll on the south side of the Pennsylvania Railroad about a quarter of a mile east of Winona Lake Station in Kosciusko County. It has five scapes and three of them have a whorl of leaves just below the spike. One spike has three leaves, one has five, and the third has six, the largest 5 cm long, but these are not in a whorl. All of my specimens of this species are more or less pubescent.
Huisinga and Ayers 1999, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Correll and Johnston 1970
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Acaulescent perennial herb to 42 cm tall. Growth form is a basal rosette of petioled leaves with multiple spicate inflorescences, taller than the leaves, ascending from within the rosette. Leaves: Petiolate with broadly ovate blades, up to 30 cm long, including the petiole; blades thick and distinctly 3-5 veined, sparsely pubescent, becoming glabrate, margins with shallow lobes near base. Flowers: Pedunculate spikes 3-24 cm long, interrupted near base; peduncle 4-20 cm long, sparsely pubescent to glabrous, appearing ridged or four-sided; flowers perfect, each subtended by a bract; bracts broadly ovate, 1.5-4.5 mm long, broadly scarious-margined with a glabrous midvein; sepals 4, broadly ovate to elliptic, 1-2 mm long, broadly scarious margined with a glabrous midvein; corolla 4-lobed, lobes spreading or reflexed, ovate, about 1 mm long, whitish and scarious; 4 stamens. Fruits: Capsule ovoid, breaks below middle, contains 6-many irregularly shaped seeds. Ecology: Weed of wet areas from 2,000-8,500 ft (610-2591 m); flowers May-October. Distribution: Native to Eurasia and naturalized throughout the world. In North America it is especially common in the Rocky Mountains and the middle to high elevations of the Southwest. Notes: Easily distinguished by its basal cluster of broadly ovate leaves and its habitat of disturbed yet moist areas such as lawns and floodplains; also diagnostic are the broadly ovate and entire bracts. Ethnobotany: Used for pain relief, rheumatism and swellings, as blood medicine, leaves used as a poultice, decoction taken for coughs, for stomach problems, and as a laxative. Many, many other uses by other non-regional tribes. Etymology: Plantago translates to foot-sole in reference to leaf habit on ground, major means larger, or greater. Synonyms: Many, see Tropicos Editor: SBuckley, 2010, AHazelton 2015
Fibrous-rooted perennial from a short, stout, erect caudex, glabrous or rather inconspicuously hairy, especially below; lvs with broadly elliptic to broadly ovate or cordate- ovate blade ±abruptly contracted to the well defined petiole, the blade entire or irregularly toothed, mostly 4-18 נ1.5-11 cm, 1.3-2(-3) times as long as wide, strongly 3-several-nerved, the nerves diverging at the base of the blade, ±parallel to the margin; petiole only seldom anthocyanic at base; scapes 5-25 cm; spikes dense but narrow, less than 1 cm thick, commonly 5-30 cm long, essentially glabrous; bracts broad, ovate- obtuse, mostly 2-4 mm, with a prominent, acute keel and thin margins; sep ovate, obtuse, the rounded keel about as wide as the scarious margins; cor-lobes ca 1 mm or less, reflexed after anthesis; stamens 4, exsert; fr rhombic-ovoid, 2.5-4 mm, circumscissile near or a little below the middle; seeds 6-30, 1 mm, strongly reticulate; 2n=12, 24. Native of Eurasia and probably also parts of N. Amer., naturalized throughout the U.S. and s. Can. in lawns, roadsides, and waste places. (P. asiatica)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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