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

Flora Data (Last Modified On 5/8/2013)
Genus Plantago L.
PlaceOfPublication Sp. PI. 112. 1753.
Description Ephemeral or perennial herbs, rarely shrubs; some with rhizomes or a stout rootstock. Leaves mostly alternate and in a rosette mostly at the top of the rootstock, the venation appearing parallel from the base of the expanded and often clasping petiole which sometimes merges into the blade without disinction. Inflorescence an axillary scape, united basally with the subtending leaf, the 1 to many small flowers sessile in the axils of sepal-like bracts and aggregated into heads or spikes. Flowers mostly bisexual, but in some species the plants are monoecious or dioecious; sepals 4, free or nearly so, mostly imbricate, some- what irregular with a prominent midrib and thin to scarious margins; corolla persistent, sympetalous, the tube as long as or rarely much longer than the calyx, with sepal-like lobes often larger than the tube and strongly reflexed; stamens (2-)4, the anthers exserted on slender filaments; ovary superior, 2-4-loculed, the ovules 2-many, the style 1, with an elongate, sometimes pubescent stigma. Fruit a 2- to many-seeded pyxis, the number of seeds often characteristic for sections or species, dehiscent near the middle or below, the basal portion re- maining mostly empty on the plant and the upper portion falling with the seeds; seeds small, often with characteristic markings, the shape apparently determined by the number present in the capsule and by the shape of the cotyledons.
Habit herbs, rarely shrubs
Distribution The genus includes some 250 species widely distributed around the world.
Note The Mediterranean region, the Himalayas, southwestern North America, and the South American mountains have large numbers of species. With the excep- tion of oceanic islands where there are endemic species, the genus is represented in the lowland tropics by only a few cosmopolitan weeds such as P. major and P. lanceolata, which occur in Panama. Section Novorbis, characterised by 2- or 3-seeded capsules, is native to the New World and includes P. australis in Panama.
Key a. Leaves lanceolate, the petiole indistinct from the blade; inflorescence a dense cylinder or head or an elongate spike; seeds 2 or 3, not flattened on one side. b. Inflorescence a dense cylinder or head; seeds 2, with a distinct concave depression on 1 side; dried corollas inconspicuous -_ 2. P. lanceolata bb. Inflorescence an elongate spike, the flowers dense or not; seeds 3, lenticular or convex on both sides; dried corollas conspicuous as orange-brown cones on the capsules -1. P. australis aa. Leaves rotund, distinctly narrowed into a petiole; inflorescence an elongate spike; seeds more than 8, flattened on one side - 3. P. major
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