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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Adolf Ceska     (Photo ID #25761)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Plantago macrocarpa
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

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.


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)
33 0 535
Slope Gradient (%)
5 0 120

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

319 8 275
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

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.