GREATER PLANTAIN

Plantago major

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]  

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8green
inner
inner8purple
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round

30th July 2009, Arable fields near Kingsley, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
The flowering stems reach the same height as those of Hoary Plantain, 40cm, but the length of the string of flowers is much longer (at 20cm) than those of Hoary Plantain which are only 4 - 6cm long. Unlike Ribwort Plantain, the flowering stalks lack ribs.


18th Aug 2012, northern portal, Hincaster Tunnel, Lancaster Canal. Photo: © RWD
The narrow flowering stalks are about 20cm long and when flowering covered in purple anthers (rather than the cream of Ribwort Plaintain or the mauve or white of Hoary Plantain).


18th Aug 2012, northern portal, Hincaster Tunnel, Lancaster Canal. Photo: © RWD
Purple anthers on short white stamens, not nearly as long as those of Hoary Plantain).


18th Aug 2012, northern portal, Hincaster Tunnel, Lancaster Canal. Photo: © RWD
The flowers themselves are light-green with each having four folded-back petals and four white stamens emerging from the opening each with a purple anther on the end.


18th Aug 2012, northern portal, Hincaster Tunnel, Lancaster Canal. Photo: © RWD
Purple anthers, one to each thin white stamen.


21st July 2012, Abney Moor, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The remains of the flowers; brown with white edges. When the petals fall off a green fruit is left (lower part of photo).


21st July 2012, Abney Moor, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
After flowering the stamens drop off leaving the four petals, now brown with white edges, visible, before they, in their turn also drop off leaving the green fruit.


16th Aug 2008, Arable fields on Cheshire Plains. Photo: © RWD
After flowering. The fruits are green and tightly packed around and along the stem, flower parts having withered and gone brown.


15th Aug 2008, Danebridge, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
When 'flowering, the long (6 inches or more) thin flowering spike has prominent purple anthers protruding from some section of the spike. The stamens are shorter and pale yellow.


15th Aug 2014, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
At some stage the fruits turn a striking reddish-purple colour.


15th Aug 2008, Danebridge, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are have prominent curved veins, are quite large, broad oval, and have a wrinkled appearance and wavy edges. Often caterpillar eaten.


30th July 2009, Arable fields near Kingsley, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves, all in a basal rosette, are stalked, broad oval, wavy and with prominent veins on the underside and usually hairless (un-like those of Hoary Plantain).


21st July 2012, Abney Moor, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
But are in fact round with six very conspicuous rounded ridges, reminiscent of a small gear wheel. They are lightly covered in short rough hairs giving the stem a very coarse feel.


Sub-species : There is a sub-species, Plantago major ssp. intermedia that grows in similar but more dampish places, is much less common, the flowering part of the spike much shorter, and the leaves have only three veins and are toothed.

Not to be semantically confused with : Robin's Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus) which is a member of the Daisy & Dandelion Family (Asteraceae).

No relation to : the Water-plantains such as Water-Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica), Ribbon-leaved Water-plantain (Alisma gramineum), Narrow-leaved Water-plantain (Alisma lanceolatum), or Lesser Water-Plantain (Baldellia ranunculoides).

Distinguishing Feature : An undistinguished plant.

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


  Plantago major  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Plantaginaceae  

Distribution
family8Plantain family8Plantaginaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Plantago
Plantago
(Plantains)

GREATER PLANTAIN

Plantago major

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]  

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