E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Plantago patagonica Jacq.
woolly plantain (woolly plantain)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Dave Ingram  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6080)

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Distribution of Plantago patagonica
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a taproot; stems erect, several, simple, strongly woolly-hairy, 5-20 cm tall.
Basal leaves linear, long-hairy, 3-13 cm long, 1-7 mm wide, tapering gradually towards the ends, 3-veined; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence of dense, woolly-hairy spikes, 1.5-10 cm long, under 1 cm wide; corollas brownish, 4-lobed, the lobes spreading, 1.5-2 mm long; bracts firm, linear with scarious margins at the base, 5 mm long; stamens inconspicuous.
Capsules, ellipsoid, 3-4 mm long; seeds 2, light brown, finely veined, 1.5-2 mm long.
Some long-bracted BC plants have been recognized as var. spinulosa.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Spring
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry slopes, fields and roadsides in the steppe and lower montane zones; locally frequent in SC BC, rare in SE BC; E to MB and S to TX and CA; S. America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

"The family Plantaginaceae includes three genera and an estimated 250-275 species from diverse habitats throughout the world (Pilger 1937). In Canada, the family is represented by two genera containing seven introduced species and ten native species" (Bassett 1973).


Bassett, I. John. 1973. The Plantains of Canada. Monograph No. 7. Canada Department of Agriculture.


Ecological Framework for Plantago patagonica

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 285 643 1772
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 360
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 197 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(105), IDF(28), PP(79)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Plantago aristata var. nuttallii (Rapin) Morris
Plantago gnaphalioides
Plantago patagonica var. aristata (Michx.) A. Gray
Plantago patagonica var. breviscapa (Shinners) Shinners
Plantago patagonica var. gnaphalioides (Nutt.) A. Gray
Plantago patagonica var. oblonga (Morris) Shinners
Plantago patagonica var. patagonica
Plantago patagonica var. spinulosa (Decne.) A. Gray
Plantago picta E. Morris
Plantago purshii Roem. & Schult.
Plantago purshii var. breviscapa Shinners
Plantago purshii var. oblonga (Morris) Shinners
Plantago purshii var. picta (E. Morris) Pilg.
Plantago purshii var. spinulosa (Decne.) Shinners
Plantago spinulosa Decne.
Plantago wyomingensis Gandog.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References