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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Dave Ingram     (Photo ID #6080)


E-Flora BC Static Map

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

Species Information

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.

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.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
643 285 1772
Slope Gradient (%)
20 0 360

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

197 10 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 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

BG(105), IDF(28), PP(79)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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 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.