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Woolly Plantain (Plantago patagonica)

Woolly Plantain

Plantago patagonica Jacq.

(Order Plantaginales, Family Plantaginaceae)

Woolly Plantain (Minden Dice, 2012)


Stems: Nearly stemless, or 0.5 to 1.5 inch long from 2 to 4 branched caudex

Leaves: Alternate, basal, simple, ascending, linear-oblanceolate, 1 to 8 inches long, about ½ inch wide; veins 1 to 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 to 20 spikes per plant

Flowers: Inconspicuous, densely crowded in spike; covering bracts triangular to linear, less th 1/10 inch long, progressively reduced aboce, woolly pubescent, petals 4; whitish; stamens 4, slightly protruding to included

Fruits: Capsule, opening near middle, seeds 2, boat-shaped; light brown, about ½ inch long

Habitat: Dry prairies, pastures, waste places, and roadsides; all soil types, but more abundant on sandy or rocky soils

Distribution: Throughout Kansas; more frequent in west 2/3

Woolly Plantain (Minden Dice, 2012)


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. The plant is a food source for birds and small mammals.

Also Called

Patagonian plantain, Woolly indianwheat


Woolly Plantain is drought resistant. It is not a problem weed or a significant forage plant, but it can be an indicator of overgrazing. Its pollen is thought to cause allergy symptoms. Woolly plantain is listed as a medium palatable graze animal plant with low protein potential.


Woolly Plantain is adapted to coarse, fine, and medium textured soils, and is tolerant of CaCO3. It has a low requirement for fertility, and does not have a high fire tolerance. Woolly Plantain is intolerant of shade and salinity.


The bloom period of Woolly Plantain is in mid spring, which is also when the fruit/seed period begins. Seed spread rate is slow, and seedling vigor is classified as medium.


Woolly Plantain is native to the United states and is present and not rare in many of the states. It is known to be extirpated from five states and is classified as exotic near the great lakes.


USDA Plants Profile:



"Woolly Plantain." Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses. K-State Libraries. 11 November 2007.

"Plantago patagonica PLANTS Profile." USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.US Departmenet of Agriculture. 01 Feb 2012.

"Plantago patagonica Conservation Plant Characteristics." USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.US Departmenet of Agriculture. 01 Feb 2012.

BONAP North America Plant Atlas. 2011. Photograph. Floristic Synthesis of NAWeb.

Submitted By: Minden Dice, July 2012

Wichita State University
Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
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