WOOLLY PLANTAIN
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Plantago patagonica  Jacq.
Smith County, Kansas
Annual
Height: 2-12 inches
Family: Plantaginaceae - Plantain Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July
Also Called: Patagonian plantain, woolly indianwheat.
Stems: Nearly stemless or .5 to 1.5 inch long from 2- to 4-branched caudex.
Leaves: Alternate, basal, simple, ascending, linear-oblanceolate, 1 to 8 inches long, about 1/2 inch wide; veins 1-3; margins entire; surfaces woolly-hairy; tips pointed.
Inflorescences: Spike, narrow, 1 to 6 inches long, densely woolly or silky pubescent, terminal on stalk 1 to 10 inches long; 1-20 spikes per plant.
Flowers: Inconspicuous, densely crowded in spike; covering bracts triangular to linear, less than 1/10 inch long, progressively reduced above, woolly pubescent; petals 4, whitish; stamens 4, slightly protruding to included.
Fruits: Capsule, opening near middle; seeds 2, boat-shaped, light brown, about 1/12 inch long.
Habitat: Dry prairies, pastures, waste places, and roadsides; all soil types, but more abundant on sandy or rocky soils.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas, but more frequently in west 2/3.
Forage Value: A food source for birds and small mammals.
Uses: Native Americans used a tea brewed from the plant as an appetite supressant and to treat headaches and diarrhea. They used the seeds for food.
Comments: Woolly plantain is drought resistant. It is not a problem weed or a significant forage plant. The presence of woolly plantain can be an indicator of overgrazing. The pollen is thought to cause allergy symptoms.

Woolly plantain inflorescences, flowers and anthers
78 KB
Smith County, Kansas