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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 113–114. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/1/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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6. Plantago lanceolata L. (English plantain, buckhorn, rib grass)

P. lanceolata f. eriophora (Hoffmanns. & Link) Beck

P. lanceolata var. sphaerostachya Mert. & W.D.J. Koch

Pl. 488 c, d; Map 2225

Plants perennial (but often flowering the first year), with numerous, slender, fibrous roots and sometimes also a taproot, the rootstock occasionally branched at the tip (this often appearing woolly with tan hairs). Aerial stems absent or very short. Leaves in a dense basal rosette, sessile or with obscure, broadly winged petioles, usually wine-colored to purplish-tinged at the base, ascending to arched or spreading to loosely ascending. Leaf blades (5–)10–40 cm long, 7–35 mm wide, narrowly elliptic to narrowly lanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate (sometimes ovate in seedlings and overwintering rosettes), angled to a usually sharply pointed tip, tapered at the base, the margins entire or with widely spaced, short and broad or rarely long and slender teeth, the surfaces glabrous or sparsely to moderately pubescent with curved to spreading hairs (sometimes more densely so on the undersurface), appearing green to dark green, with 3 to several main veins, these all arising from the blade base and appearing more or less parallel. Inflorescences 1 to more commonly several to many per plant, terminal, elongate spikes, 1.5–8.0 cm long, 6–10 mm in diameter, densely flowered for the entire length (the axis not visible between the flowers) or the lowermost flowers sometimes more widely spaced, the stalk 12–55 cm long, erect or strongly ascending at flowering and fruiting, hairy, the axis solid, somewhat 5-angled in cross-section. Bracts with the body 1.5–3.0 mm long, similar in length, shorter than to longer than the flowers (the body slightly shorter than the calyces), ovate, with broad, translucent margins and a slender, not or only slightly keeled, green midnerve, often tapered into a slender awnlike or hairlike tip up to as long as the body, glabrous. Cleistogamous flowers absent. Calyces appearing 3-lobed (derived from 4 lobes but with the 2 lobes adjacent to the bract fused into a usually apically notched structure with 2 midnerves), 1.8–3.0 mm long, zygomorphic, ovate (the fused pair broadly oblong-ovate), sharply pointed at the tip, the slender, not or only slightly keeled midnerve glabrous or more commonly hairy toward the tip, the broad, translucent margins thin and papery. Corollas not noticeably zygomorphic, the lobes 2.0–2.5 mm long, narrowly ovate with a shallowly cordate base, sharply pointed at the tip, the margins entire, translucent white to tan, all of the lobes spreading to reflexed at flowering, reflexed at fruiting. Stamens 4, the anthers not horned. Fruits 3–4 mm long, ovoid to obovoid, circumscissile near the base. Seeds mostly 2 per fruit, 1.7–2.2 mm long, oblong-elliptic to ovate, the surface with a flattened or slightly concave area on 1 side, otherwise finely pitted, yellowish brown to brown, shiny. 2n=12, 13, 24, 96. April–October.

Introduced, common nearly throughout the state (native of Europe, Asia, introduced nearly worldwide). Banks of streams and rivers, margins of ponds and lakes, marshes, and openings of mesic upland forests; also old fields, fallow fields, pastures, edges of crop fields, lawns, gardens, fencerows, railroads, roadsides, and open disturbed areas.

Some botanists recognize a number of infraspecific taxa for P. lanceolata (Steyermark, 1963), based on slight differences in inflorescence shape and pubescence patterns. Tessene (1968) corroborated earlier research showing that these can be accounted for mainly by environmental variables, rather than genetically based variation.



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