[The Plantain Family in the Columbia R. Gorge]

Indian-wheat, Woolly Plantain

Plantago patagonica

Synonyms: Plantago patagonica var. breviscapa, Plantago patagonica var. gnaphalioides, Plantago patagonica var. oblonga, Plantago patagonica var. spinulosa, Plantago picta, Plantago purshii, Plantago purshii var. breviscapa, Plantago purshii var. oblonga, Plantago purshii var. picata, Plantago purshii var. spinulosa, Plantago spinulosa, Plantago wyomingensis

Woolly Plantain, Indian-wheat: Plantago patagonica (Synonyms: Plantago patagonica var. breviscapa, Plantago patagonica var. gnaphalioides, Plantago patagonica var. oblonga, Plantago patagonica var. spinulosa, Plantago picta, Plantago purshii, Plantago purshii var. breviscapa, Plantago purshii var. oblonga, Plantago purshii var. picata, Plantago purshii var. spinulosa, Plantago spinulosa, Plantago wyomingensis)

The photo above shows a close-up of Indian-wheat as seen at Catherine Creek in the central Columbia River Gorge..................6-3, 2006.

Characteristics:

Woolly-plantain is an annual weed with soft, hairy herbage. Its stems are erect, from 7.5-25 cm tall, with numerous long, thin, upright leaves clustered at the base of the plant. The 5-petaled flowers are tiny, white, and clustered in spikes from 2.5-12.5 cm long. It should be noted that the flowers appear 4-petaled but the lowermost petal is composed of two joined petals. The flowers are surrounded by woolly bracts.


Habitat:

Woolly-plantain is found in dry, open places in the valleys, plains, and foothills. It is common in sandy places.


Range:

A native of North America, woolly-plantain is found from southern British Columbia south to California and Texas, and east to Saskatchewan. It is an introduced weed east of its natural range, and has also been found in Chile and Argentina. In the Pacific Northwest, it is found east of the Cascades, and in the Columbia River Gorge, it is found east of Dog Mt. between the elevations of 100'-500'.


Inflorescence of Woolly Plantain, Indian-wheat: Plantago patagonica (Synonyms: Plantago patagonica var. breviscapa, Plantago patagonica var. gnaphalioides, Plantago patagonica var. oblonga, Plantago patagonica var. spinulosa, Plantago picta, Plantago purshii, Plantago purshii var. breviscapa, Plantago purshii var. oblonga, Plantago purshii var. picata, Plantago purshii var. spinulosa, Plantago spinulosa, Plantago wyomingensis)

The photo above shows a close-up the inflorescence of Indian-wheat as seen at Catherine Creek in the central Columbia River Gorge..................6-3, 2006. The flowers are quite interesting to look at.

Woolly Plantain, Indian-wheat: Plantago patagonica (Synonyms: Plantago patagonica var. breviscapa, Plantago patagonica var. gnaphalioides, Plantago patagonica var. oblonga, Plantago patagonica var. spinulosa, Plantago picta, Plantago purshii, Plantago purshii var. breviscapa, Plantago purshii var. oblonga, Plantago purshii var. picata, Plantago purshii var. spinulosa, Plantago spinulosa, Plantago wyomingensis)

Woolly plantain blooming on sand dunes along Washington Highway 14 west of Rock Creek at milepost 115.5................May 11, 2009.

Woolly Plantain, Indian-wheat: Plantago patagonica (Synonyms: Plantago patagonica var. breviscapa, Plantago patagonica var. gnaphalioides, Plantago patagonica var. oblonga, Plantago patagonica var. spinulosa, Plantago picta, Plantago purshii, Plantago purshii var. breviscapa, Plantago purshii var. oblonga, Plantago purshii var. picata, Plantago purshii var. spinulosa, Plantago spinulosa, Plantago wyomingensis)

Indian-wheat in the weedy, sandy soils at Horsethief Butte in the eastern Columbia River Gorge...............May 10, 2009.

Paul Slichter