BUCK'S-HORN PLANTAIN

STAG'S-HORN PLANTAIN

Plantago coronopus

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]  

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept month8Oct

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8cream
 
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZclustered
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
sex
sexZfemale
  gyno-
sex
sexZbisexual
dioecious

20th June 2008, Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
Typically deeply cut pinnate hairy leaves. Flower head is longer when in fruit as here (but shorter than those of the otherwise very similar Sea Plantain). Grows to 20cm high (shorter than Sea Plantain which grows to 30cm high)


20th June 2008, Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
Some leaves are just linear like those of Sea Plantain but generally not all (some are deeply cut as bottom right)


20th June 2008, Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
The hairy cut leaves and brown deadish flower spike.


20th June 2008, Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
The hairy cut leaves and brown deadish flower spike.


20th June 2008, Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
The hairy cut leaves.


20th June 2008, Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
The linear leaves. Some leaves redden. The plants with the shorter flowering spikes are probably female only, for Buck's-horn Plantain is gynodioecious.


23rd Aug 2011, St. Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
  Flowering spike shorter than the otherwise very similar Sea Plantain. With anthers this plant is obviously hermaphroditic.


23rd Aug 2011, St. Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
  Flowers with four translucent cream petals ans long thin filaments with yellow anthers. Hairy stem, flower sepals pointed.


20th June 2008, Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have four straw-coloured petals.


29th March 2011, Hilbre Island, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Plan-view of the leaves (which are all basal, there being no stem-leaves). Leaves are deep mid-green but can also turn yellow, orange, red and purple-brown. A most strikingly decorative plant!


29th March 2011, Hilbre Island, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Leaves semi-succulent and most distinctively symmetrically cut into lobes, each lobe tapering to a point. Typically there are 2 to 4 or pairs of lobes, the leaf becoming ever wider at the origin for each lobe-pair. The flowers are lain flat at first (the purplish flower-heads).


29th March 2011, Hilbre Island, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Five purplish flower-heads to be found lying flat on this specimen, flowers not yet opened.


29th March 2011, Hilbre Island, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Three un-opened flower heads. They will elongate. Leaves shallowly U-shaped in cross-section with long white hairs.


29th March 2011, Hilbre Island, West Kirby, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Leaves have tiny pits (pores) over their surface and with Hydathodes at each leaf-tip to eliminate excess water and salts. Resting on the leaves are grains of sand.


Some similarities to : Sea Plantain which also grows near the sea. But whereas Sea Plantain has hairless leaves, Buck'shorn Plantain has slightly downy leaves, and which are typically, but not always, deeply cut. Both grow near the sea.

Not to be semantically confused with : Robin's Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus) which is a member of the Daisy & Dandelion Family (Asteraceae), nor with Sea-Buckthorn, Buck's-Beard, Alder Buckthorn, Sea-Buckthorn or Buckwheat [plants belonging to disparate families].

Distinguishing Feature : The plantain-like flower spike with a basal rosette of deeply-cut leaves.

Buck's-horn Plantain is a low-growing plant with thick fleshy hairy leaves that are usually deeply cut, but can also have long and linear un-cut or just slightly nicked leaves. But the leaves usually all lie flat in a basal rosette, onlike those of Sea Plantain where they writhe above ground haphazardly.

No relation to : any of the Water-Plantains such as Water-Plantain itself, which instead belong to the Water-Plantain Family (Alismataceae).

Buck's-horn Plantain grows in sandy places inland out of reach of the tide. It is gynodioecious, where the populations are composed of female plants and of hermaphroditic plants. This accounts for the differing appearance of some of the flowering spikes on the above photographs: the shorter spikes are probably female only (lacking anthers) whereas the longer spikes have both anthers and stigmas.

The only leaves are in a basal rosette. It grows on sandy beeches and between cracks in pavements and rocks close to the sea but not within the tidal zone (although it could possibly be in the big-splash zone), and is very tolerant of trampling.

This plant is gynodioecious meaning there are female plants, and bisexual plants, which accounts for some differences in the flowers on different plants. It's actual sexuallity is quite complicated with many permutations and half-way houses. See Sex


  Plantago coronopus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Plantaginaceae  

Distribution
family8Plantain family8Plantaginaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8plantago
Plantago
(Plantains)

BUCK'S-HORN PLANTAIN

STAG'S-HORN PLANTAIN

Plantago coronopus

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]  

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