HOARY PLANTAIN

Plantago media

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8mauve inner8purple
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round

1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Same height as Greater Plantain, up to 40cm.


10th Aug 2012, Flagg, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Typical flowering spike with a fuzz of prominent stamens consisting of long pale-pink filaments and white anthers at right-angles.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Flowering spike often slightly pyramidal in shape rather than the sparkler-firework shape of Greater Plantain. The flowering spikes are about 6cm long (up to 12cm), much shorter than that of Greater Plantain. Starts flowering from the bottom upwards, developing stamens at summit.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The fuzzy haze of mostly stamens.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The petals are in fours, almost clear white and much nearer the main stem and are long and narrow ending in a abrupt linear-taper.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The filaments of the stamens are bare, long, thin and pale-pink-purple. Each flower has four stamens. The (possibly abnormally) long stigmas are the same colour and shape as the filaments apart from being shrouded in a mass of extremely short white hairs.

Note the four almost transparent clear to white petals with stamens coming out of at top-leftish.



1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The anthers are box-kite shaped and attach cross-ways on the end of each long thin filament. Note that the anthers are entirely without pollen, have they already shed it (unlikely, as no remnants visible elsewhere) or are some specimens of Hoary Plantain male-sterile. Is it possible that, like Ribwort Plantain, Hoary Plantain is gynodioecious and maybe gynomonoecious too.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The white semi-transparent petals of the flowers themselves (of which there are four) are best seen when the haze of long stamens and anthers have dropped off.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Flowering spike before flowering. Flower buds in slack spirals around the stalk.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Flower buds before opening. Un-lengthened stem has a dense covering of short white hairs, which are aligned upwards.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves given a bluish tinge by the short hoary hairs.


1st July 2014, High Cross Rd, Hartington, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Greater Plantain the leaves are both hoary with short white hairs and have raised 'blisters' (best noticed with leaf edge-on).


10th Aug 2012, Flagg, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
A much more typical basal rosette. Unlike Greater Platain, the oval leaves taper gradually to a short winged stalk. The leaves have between 5 and 9 longitudinal veins, between which the regular 'bumps' occur.


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

Some similarities to : Greater Plantain and to Ribwort Plantain [see captions for differences].

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : A plaintain with shortish flowering stem but long white/mauve stamens bearing white anthers.

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

A green dye can be extracted from the Plantain plants.


  Plantago media  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Plantaginaceae  

Distribution
 family8Plantain family8Plantaginaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Plantago
Plantago
(Plantains)

HOARY PLANTAIN

Plantago media

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]