Plantago elongata Pursh
slender plantain (prairie plantain)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #13421)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Plantago elongata
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Species Information

Annual herb from a well-developed taproot; stems erect, numerous, simple, rough-hairy or sometimes smooth, often woolly at the base, 3-20 cm tall.
Basal leaves linear, tapering towards the base, smooth or sparsely hairy, 2-10 cm long, 0.3-1.5 mm wide, entire; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence of dense bracteate spikes, the spikes elongate, 1-10 cm long, smooth; corollas green, 4-lobed, the lobes less than 1 mm long, erect to reflexed, some plants with nonfunctioning stamens while others with reduced or nonfunctioning pistils; bracts broadly egg-shaped, spurred, equal to the sepals, 2 mm long.
Capsules, egg-shaped, 2-3 mm long; seeds 4, or sometimes 5 or 6, elliptic-oblong, 1.3-2 mm long, pitted at maturity.
Specimens of P. bigelovii and P. elongata annotated and cited in Bassett (1973) were not readily distinguishable in the herbaria studied. This was also noted by Cronquist (1984).

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Habitat and Range

Moist to dry coastal shores and bluffs in the lowland zone, also in alkaline sites inland in the steppe zone; locally frequent on SE Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and adjacent coast, rare in SC BC; E to MB and S to TX, CO, NV and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Plantago bigelovii A. Gray
Plantago bigelovii subsp. bigelovii A. Gray
Plantago elongata subsp. pentasperma Bassett

Taxonomic 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.