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    Vascular Plants of California
Key to families | Table of families and genera

Key to Plantago

View taxon page for Plantago

(For a list of species in Plantago, use the above link.)

Jepson Manual glossary definitions can be seen by moving your cursor over words underlined with dots.

1. Leaves cauline; inflorescence axillary, spikes generally in cyme-like clusters at peduncle tip ..... P. arenaria

1' Leaves in basal rosette; inflorescence scapose, with 1 terminal spike

2. Corolla tube hairy; inner side of seed perpendicular to plane between cotyledons (subg. Coronopus)

3. Leaf deeply pinnately lobed; calyx pressed against inflorescence axis (except on re-hydrated material); adaxial sepals each with 1 wide keel or wing on midrib ..... P. coronopus

3' Leaf entire to sparsely dentate; calyx not pressed against inflorescence axis; adaxial sepals each with 0 or 1 narrow keel or wing on midrib ..... P. maritima

2' Corolla tube glabrous; inner side of seed perpendicular to plane between cotyledons to not

4. Seeds (1)2, inner side deep-concave (concavity generally ? 1/2 thickness of seed), perpendicular to plane between cotyledons (subg. Psyllium)

5. Peduncle grooved; abaxial sepals united > 1/2 from base, scarious parts united; green bract midrib not reaching tip ..... P. lanceolata

5' Peduncle not grooved; abaxial sepals united at base, scarious parts free; green bract midrib generally reaching tip

6. Hairs on peduncle generally ± spreading (ascending), each in diam generally << to = 2 × those on leaves ..... P. ovata

7. Corolla lobes generally without red-brown midrib; bract midrib green ..... var. fastigiata

7' Corolla lobes generally with prominent red-brown midrib; bract midrib brown ..... var. insularis

6' Hairs on peduncle nearly always ascending, each in diam ± 2 × those on leaves

8. Bract ovate to round, generally <= calyx, not exserted ..... P. erecta

8' Bract linear, 1–12 × calyx, some or all exserted

9. Bract generally 3–12 × calyx; corolla lobes generally obtuse; plant drying dark green, hairs 0 to ± present ..... P. aristata

9' Bract generally 1–2.5 × calyx; corolla lobes ± acute; plant drying light green, hairs ± dense ..... P. patagonica

4' Seeds 1–many, inner side flat, rarely convex or concave (concavity ? 1/2 thickness of seed), parallel to plane between cotyledons if seeds 1–2, parallel to oblique to perpendicular if seeds > 2 (subg. Plantago)

10. Perennial herb (rarely annual in Plantago major)

11. Leaf widely elliptic to ± cordate, narrowed abruptly to petiole; flower bisexual; corolla lobes spreading to reflexed, ± 0.5 mm; plant with many fibrous roots ..... P. major

11' Leaf oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic-ovate, tapered to wide petiole; flower unisexual or bisexual; corolla lobes spreading, ± 1 mm, or generally erect in pistillate flowers, spreading in staminate, ± 3 mm; plant with 1–2 taproots or many fibrous roots

12. Plant with 1–2 taproots; flower bisexual; corolla lobes spreading, ± 1 mm ..... P. eriopoda

12' Plant with many fibrous roots; flower unisexual; corolla lobes generally erect in pistillate flowers, spreading in staminate, ± 3 mm ..... P. subnuda

10' Annual, biennial

13. Leaf widely oblanceolate to obovate or elliptic, tapered to petiole, entire to ± toothed

14. Abaxial sepals 2.7–3.6 mm, acuminate to mucronate; seeds 2.5–3 mm, generally red to red-brown, with concavity on inner side < 1/2 thickness of seed ..... P. rhodosperma

14' Abaxial sepals 1.5–2.4 mm, obtuse; seeds 1.5–2 mm, pale brown, with concavity on inner side ± 1/2 thickness of seed ..... P. virginica

13' Leaf thread-like to narrowly oblanceolate, tapered to base, generally entire

15. Leaf narrowly oblanceolate; corolla lobes ± 2–3 mm; inflorescence axis generally not visible between flowers; flowers unisexual, stamens 0 or 4 ..... P. truncata subsp. firma

15' Leaf thread-like to linear; corolla lobes ± 0.5 mm; inflorescence axis generally at least partially visible between flowers; flowers bisexual, stamens 2

16. Corolla lobes generally 1 erect, 3 spreading or reflexed; seeds (3)4–9(12) per fruit, 1.5–2.5 mm; California Floristic Province (except High Cascade Range, s Sierra Nevada Foothills, High Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area) ..... P. elongata

16' Corolla lobes generally erect; seeds 4 per fruit, 0.7–1.8 mm; San Joaquin Valley, South Coast (San Diego Co.) ..... P. pusilla


Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, [accessed on month, day, year]

Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].

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