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Plantago maritima

Plantago maritima (common names sea plantain, seaside plantain, goose tongue) is a species of Plantago, family Plantaginaceae. It has a subcosmopolitan distribution in temperate and Arctic regions, native to most of Europe, northwest Africa, northern and central Asia, northern North America, and southern South America.[1][2] Like samphires, the plant is commonly harvested in the Maritimes and eaten.[citation needed]


It is a herbaceous perennial plant with a dense rosette of stemless leaves. Each leaf is linear, 2–22 cm long and under 1 cm broad, thick and fleshy-textured, with an acute apex and a smooth or distantly toothed margin; there are three to five veins. The flowers are small, greenish-brown with brown stamens, produced in a dense spike 0.5–10 cm long on top of a stem 3–20 cm tall.[3][4][5]


There are four subspecies:[2][5]

  • Plantago maritima subsp. maritima. Europe, Asia, northwest Africa.
  • Plantago maritima subsp. borealis (Lange) A. Blytt and O. Dahl. Arctic regions. All parts of the plant small, compared to temperate plants.
  • Plantago maritima subsp. juncoides (Lam.) Hultén. South America, North America (this name to North American plants has been questioned[5]).
  • Plantago maritima subsp. serpentina (All.) Arcang. Central Europe, on serpentine soils in mountains.

Ecology and Physiology[edit]

In much of the range it is strictly coastal, growing on sandy soils. In some areas, it also occurs in alpine habitats, along mountain streams.[3] Some of the physiology and metabolism of this species has been described, of particular note is how the metabolism of this species is altered with elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.[6][7]


  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Plantago maritima
  2. ^ a b Flora Europaea: Plantago maritima
  3. ^ a b Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  4. ^ Plants of British Columbia: Plantago maritima
  5. ^ a b c Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Plantago maritima
  6. ^ Davey, M. P.; Harmens, H.; Ashenden, T. W.; Edwards, R.; Baxter, R. (2007). "Species-specific effects of elevated CO2 on resource allocation in Plantago maritima and Armeria maritima". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 35 (3): 121. doi:10.1016/j.bse.2006.09.004.  edit
  7. ^ Davey, M.; Bryant, D. N.; Cummins, I.; Ashenden, T. W.; Gates, P.; Baxter, R.; Edwards, R. (2004). "Effects of elevated CO2 on the vasculature and phenolic secondary metabolism of Plantago maritima". Phytochemistry 65 (15): 2197–2204. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2004.06.016. PMID 15587703.  edit


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