Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

This plant closely resembles Plantago major (Common Plantain) from Eurasia. Black-Seeded Plantain differs from the latter species by the appearance of its seeds (e.g., they are black and lack surface reticulation) and its more narrow seed capsules. This plant is widely regarded as an unattractive weed, but its ecological value, particularly to small animals and moths, is rather high. Return
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Description

This is a native perennial plant that consists of a low-growing rosette of basal leaves, from which flowering scapes up to 10" tall emerge from the center. The basal leaves are up to 6" long and 4" across, and have long petioles. They are oval, parallel-veined, hairless, and have smooth margins that occasionally undulate. The petioles near the base of the rosette are light purple on some plants. The flowering scapes are unbranched and narrowly cylindrical. Each scape consists of a rather dense spike of tiny green flowers and their bracts. Each flower is less than 1/8" long and consists of 4 sepals, which are surrounded by lanceolate bracts. The blooming period usually occurs during the summer, and sometimes later if there is a major disturbance that prevents development of the flowering scapes. Pollination is by wind, rather than insects. The flowers rapidly turn brown, and are replaced by elongated seed capsules that are shaped like a tiny narrow acorn. They split open to below the middle by a lid, releasing 2-9 seeds each. The seeds are black, oval and slightly angular, with a tiny indentation in the middle of one side. There is no reticulation on the surface. These seeds become sticky when wet, and can attach themselves to blowing leaves and other passing objects. The root system is quite branched and coarsely fibrous.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Associations

Faunal Associations

Various small animals help to distribute the seeds under wet conditions, which can cling to their feet or fur coats. Rabbits, groundhogs, and deer eat the leaves and flowering stems. Squirrels eat the seed capsules occasionally, including the Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, and the uncommon Franklin's Ground Squirrel. Some birds also eat the seeds, including the Cardinal and Grasshopper Sparrow. The caterpillars of several species of moths (see Moth Table) and the attractive butterfly, Junonia coenia (Buckeye), feed on the foliage of this and other plantains. Photographic Location
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Plantago rugelii

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Plantago rugelii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, and moist to mesic conditions in fertile, loamy soil. Soil with a high clay or gravel content is readily tolerated, but will stunt the growth of the plants. The leaves will wilt during a drought, but this is rarely lethal. Black-Seeded Plantain readily reseeds itself, and can spread to locations where it is undesired. The seeds can remain viable in the ground for several years, if not decades. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

Plantago rugelii

Plantago rugelii is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family, Plantaginaceae. It is native to North America, where it occurs in eastern Canada and the central and eastern United States. Its common names include American plantain, blackseed plantain, pale plantain, and Rugel's plantain.[1] The generic name Plantago is from the Latin planta ("footprint") and the species name rugelii honors Ferdinand Ignatius Xavier Rugel (1806-1879),[2] a German-born botanist and pharmacist.[3]

Description[edit source | edit]

This perennial herb grows from a taproot and fibrous root system. It produces a basal rosette of wide oval leaves with longitudinal veining and a somewhat waxy texture. The base of the petiole may be reddish or purple. A scape bears clusters of whitish flowers. The fruit is a capsule about half a centimeter long containing several seeds. It splits down the middle. Plantago major is very similar, but it lacks the red tinge on the petioles and its leaves are darker and waxier.[4]

It commonly grows in disturbed habitat, such as lawns.[2] It can be a weed of turf.[4]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ Plantago rugelii. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  2. ^ a b Plantago rugelii Decne. Freckmann Herbarium. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.
  3. ^ Index Collectorum, R. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Göttingen.
  4. ^ a b Blackseed Plantain: Plantago rugelii. Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide.
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