Plantago maritima L.
Seaside Plantain (Alaska plantain; Common Plantain; goose tongue; sea plantain)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Dave Ingram     (Photo ID #2662)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Species Information

Perennial (rarely annual) herb from a sometimes woolly, short-branched crown and a taproot; stems ascending to erect, several, simple or rarely short branched, smooth or spreading-hairy, 5-25 cm tall.
Basal leaves lanceolate or more often linear, 12-22 cm long, tapering gradually into the winged stalks, entire or irregularly short-toothed, smooth or slightly hairy, 3- to 5 (7)-veined; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence of dense or lax, bracteate spikes, 2-10 cm long; corollas greenish, hairy outside, 4-lobed, the lobes 1-1.5 mm long, spreading; bracts broadly egg-shaped, shorter than the flowers, minutely fringed; stamens conspicuous.
Capsules, egg-shaped to broadly conic, 3-4 mm long; seeds 2-4, ellipsoid, about 2 mm long, brown or black, flat on the inner surface.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Plantago maritima

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)
4 0 70
Slope Gradient (%)
15 0 120

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

31 54 359
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in


Habitat and Range

Salt marshes and coastal beaches in the lowland zone; common along the coast, rare inland in NW BC (Mess Lake Mineral Springs); coastal N America and S America.

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.