Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Plantago major L.
- Family: Plantain (Plantaginaceae)
- Flowering: May-October
- Field Marks: This plantain differs by its broad leaves, continuous cylindrical spikes, and green instead of wine-colored leaf stalks.
- Habitat: Disturbed areas, often becoming an aggressive weed in lawns.
- Habit: Perennial herb with a thickened rootstock and with fibrous roots.
- Stems: None except for the leafless stalk that bears the cylindrical spike of flowers.
- Leaves: All basal, broadly elliptic to ovate, up to 6 inches long, up to 4 inches wide, pointed or occasionally more or less rounded at the tip, rounded or heart-shaped at the base, usually with some hairs, conspicuously veiny; leaf stalks green
- Flowers: Crowded into cylindrical spikes at the tip of leafless stems; spikes up to 12 inches long, less than 1/2 inch thick; each flower subtended by a bract up to 1/6 inch long.
- Sepals: 4, united below, green.
- Petals: 4, united below, nearly transparent, the lobes about 1/20 inch long and turned downward.
- Stamens: 4.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; stigmas 2-lobed.
- Fruits: Capsules more or less spherical, up to 1/6 inch in diameter, smooth, containing 6-30 seeds; seeds ovoid, about 1/20 inch long, brown or black, conspicuously net-veined.
- Notes: This species can be an unsightly weed in lawns.
Previous Species -- Scouter Popcorn-flower (Plagiabothrys scouleri)
Return to Species List -- Group 8
Next Species -- Arrow-weed (Pluchea sericea)