Plantago indica L.


=Plantago arenaria


Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)




Sand Plantain  

                         June Photo


Plant Characteristics: Caulescent, pubescent and somewhat glandular annual with simple or much-branched leafy stems 8-40 cm. high; lvs. opposite, sometimes with shorter axillary lvs., sessile, hirsute or hirsute-villous, linear or linear-lanceolate, 6-8 cm. long, 2-4 mm. wide; infl. on axillary peduncles from the leaf-axils or umbellate at the apex of the stems, the heads oval or subglobose; lowest bracts ovate, abruptly long-acuminate, concave, 4-5 mm. long, the upper ovate or oval; calyx-lobes obovate, hyaline-margined; corolla-lobes narrowly ovate, 2 mm. long, acute, shorter than the tube; seeds 2, about 2.5 mm. long, reddish brown, concave on the inner face.


Habitat:  Reported from sandy and waste places; it is often used as a constituent of commercial bird-seed, poultry-feed, etc. and escapes.  July-Nov.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 635).


Name:  Latin, from planta, footprint.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 633).   Latin, aren, sand, a sandy place.  (Jaeger 25).  Latin, arena or harena, sand.  (Simpson 56, 272).  Latin, indicus, of India  (Jaeger 127).


General:  Rare in the study area, having been found only on Northstar Beach where there is a colony.  In 2006, I noted that the colony has expanded and now the species is found in all the the sandy area northerly of the water channel and could be considered very common in the one location.  (my comment).       The seeds have a mucilaginous coat, hence are of some use as a laxative.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 633).       There are but 3 genera in the family, the principal one being Plantago, in which occurs a majority of the species.  There are 14 species of Plantago in California, 6 of which are introduced, the remainder native.  All are low herbs with flowers on long stems and leaves all basal.  (Robbins et al. 406).  The exception to the leaves being all basal is P. indica.  (my comment).       Often used for bird seed and poultry feed.  (Hickman, Ed. 821).


Text Ref:  Abrams, Vol. IV 22; Hickman, Ed. 821; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 635; Roberts 32.

Photo Ref:  May-July 92 # 18,19,20.

Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by John Johnson.

Computer Ref: Plant Data 437.

Have plant specimen.

Last edit 6/1/06.


                                           June Photo