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

Plantago macrocarpa Cham. & Schltdl.
Alaska plantain (seashore plantain)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25761)

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Distribution of Plantago macrocarpa
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a stout taproot; stems erect, numerous, simple, hollow, smooth or sometimes hairy above when young, 25-45 (60) cm tall.
Basal leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate, smooth, several-veined, 10-45 cm long, 1-3.5 cm wide, narrowed at the base to the distinct stalks, entire; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence of short, dense, bracteate spikes, the spikes short at first then elongate, 5-15 cm long; corollas greenish to brownish, 4-lobed, the lobes 1.5-2 mm long, spreading; bracts shorter than the flowers; stamens conspicuous.
Capsules, egg-shaped, 5-7 mm long; seeds 1-2, black, slightly concave, roughened.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, beaches, upper tidal marshes, shorelines and bogs in the lowland zone; infrequent along the coast in BC; amphiberingian, N to S AK and S to OR, E Asia.

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 macrocarpa

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) 0 33 535
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 120
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
8 319 275
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 5 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: CWH(38), ICH(1)


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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