Plantago media Linnaeus - Hoary Plantain

Systematic position.

Family Plantaginaceae, genus Plantago L.

Biological group.

This is a perennial weed with a main root.

Morphology and biology.

Stem is 30-50 cm tall. Plant is rough-pubescent. Rosette leaves elliptic, with 5-9 veins, slightly pointed, entire or slightly denticulate along margin, almost sedentary or located on short (1-4 cm long) petioles (less often with long petioles in shade-requiring forms), pubescent on both sides. The leaf plate is usually almost twice longer than it is wide. Flower shoot ascending, finely costate, pubescent, much longer than leaves. Inflorescence is spiciform, cylindrical, rather dense, 2-9 cm in length. Bracts are ovoid, with broad scarious margin, blunt or pointed, almost equal to calyx in length. Lobes of calyx blunt, ovoid, scarious along margin. Corolla is silvery-white or light pink with ovoid pointed lobes; its tube as long as its calyx. Staminal threads mauve, anthers lilac. Boll is two-chamber; each chamber with 1-2 seeds. Seeds are 0.7-1.25 mm wide and 2-2.75 mm long, angularly ovoid, dark brown, almost flat, rough, dimly shining and grooved on one side. Blossoming occurs in June-July, fructifying from August. One plant can produce about 2000 seeds. The Hoary Plantain is distinguished in its ability to reproduce vegetatively by lateral roots and their fragments producing buds.


This species is distributed throughout almost all of Europe, the Caucasus, Western and Eastern Siberia, the Far East, Asia Minor, part of Central Asia, Iran and northwest America.


The species grows in meadows, pastures, waste grounds, along roads, forest glades, near habitations and is also a weed in fields with mainly rich soils mainly; sometimes found on carbonate soils.

Economic significance.

This weed litters crops of perennial grasses in zones of abundant humidification and is found in winter crops and clover crops. Control measures include stubbling with disk and share scufflers to depths of 8-10 cm, with the subsequent harrowing and packing of soil, autumn plowing by a plough with coulter, half-fallow winter tillage, maintenance of crop rotation and application of herbicides if necessary.

Reference citations:

Nikitin V.V. 1983. Weeds in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Nauka. 454 p. (In Russian)
Shishkin, B.K., ed. 1965. Flora of the Leningrad Region. V. 4. Leningrad: LGU. 356 p. (In Russian)
Simonov I. 1969. Weeds and their control. Sverdlovsk: Sredne-Ural`skoe Publishing House. 132 p. (In Russian)

© Nadtochii I.N.


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