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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 5/8/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 5/8/2013)
Species Plantago major L.
PlaceOfPublication Sp. PI. 112. 1753.-FIG. 1G.
Description Ephemeral or persistent glabrate herb 10-50 cm high at anthesis, developing a short rhizome, but the roots appearing mainly fibrous and shallow. Leaves mostly glabrous, except for a tuft of long trichomes at the base ofnthe petiole, green or with some purplish in the petiole, to 50 cm long overall, ovate, elliptic, or reniform, to 20 cm wide, entire or with denticulate margins and narrowed into a ribbon-like or v-shaped petiole which forms about half the length, major veins 3-8 arising at the base of the petiole and forming an elliptical pattern on the blade, in living material the lamina often displaying a wrinkled or crisped appearance. Scape longer or shorter than the leaves, fertile in the upper half, the lower portion terete or with longitudinal grooves, glabrate or with a few scattered trichomes. Flowers in an elongate spike, congested or somewhat dispersed along the axis, bisexual; bracts about as long as the sepals, with a slender green keel and whitish margins; sepals almost free, elliptic to rotund, 1.5-2.5 mm long with a prominent green keel; corolla-lobes much reduced, to 1 mm long; anthers small, exserted 1-2 mm; stigma short- pilose, exserted 1-2 mm. Pyxis 2-3 mm long, slightly larger on larger plants, circumscissile below the middle at about the top of the sepals, the top hemi- spherical to elliptical, falling with most of the seeds; seeds 9-25 (mostly 14-18 in Panamanian material) 0.8-1.1 mm long, slightly angular but essentially flat on at least one side and not concave, reddish-brown to blackish, the surface with waves of fine, dark tuberculae.
Habit herb
Distribution Much of the material of this species from Old World temperate regions has fewer and slightly larger seeds and more conical capsules than in Panama.
Note However, since in assigning the dozens of infraspecific names in this species, workers have given primary attention to the conditon of the leaves or teratological inflorescences, it is not feasable at present to give formal taxonomic recognition to the Panamanian distinctions. These differences from the European plants are present in all the tropical American material seen. Plantago major is dispersed in most regions of the world and is one of the few species in the genus- which occurs in the lowland humid tropics. In the mountains of Chiriqui it grows in wet parts of cultivated areas, where it grows to large size (leaves and scapes 25-50 cm long). Although not plentiful else- where in the country, it may be expected in any locality subject to frequent disturbance.
Specimen CANAL ZONE: Cultivated, Curundu, at house #2114, Tyson 3468 (MO, SCZ). D'Arcy & Tyson 5485 (MO). CHImQxUI: Along trails, vicinity of Bajo Mona and Quebrada Chiquero, 1500 m, Woodson & Schery 527a (MO). Moist roadside ditch in sun, Bambito, 1 mi. SW Cerro Punta, 5600 ft, Tyson 5616 (MO, SCZ). Street weed above and NE of Boquete, 4500 ft, D'Arcy 5444, 5445 (both MO). Second growth, cultivated areas, and roadsides, from Boquete to 3 mi. N, 3300-4500 ft, Lewis et al. 632 (MO). Cerro Punta, ca. 7000 ft, Blum et al. 2408 (MO, SCZ). In swampy meadows, Finca Lerida to Boquete, ca. 1300-1700 m, Woodson et al. 1152 (MO). Large plant in low part of vegetable field, Nueva Suisa, 6000 ft, D'Arcy 5337 (C, GH, MO). HERRERA: Road from La Avena to outskirts of Pese, ca. 200 ft, Burch et al. 1287 (MO). WITHOUT LOCALITY: "Llanten," weed along trail, Duke et al. 13619 (SCZ).
Note In Central Panama, Plantago major is occasionally cultivated as an urban medicinal plant. According to the label on Tyson 3468, it was (1966) "said to be brought from Ecuador where it was obtained from Indians; tea from leaves used for kidney infection." The label on D'Arcy & Tyson 5485 records, "Culti- vated by Chinese market gardeners for sale as nursery plants to be grown by Panamanians for medicinal purposes." While most Panamanian collections are glabrate, D'Arcy 5445 is pilose on the undersides of the petiole and major veins and on the young scapes. D'Arcy 5444, which was growing within a few inches of this collection, is glabrate except for a pilose young scape. Both of these specimens were growing in a weedy field where Plantago australis was plentiful, and the pubescence was reminiscent of neighboring P. australis plants. Both of these two collections have the characteristic stalked leaves of P. major and their ovaries have many ovules.
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