Sea Plantain - Wildflowers
The Sea plantain has green flowers and yellow anthers and long leaves, narrow like grass. A pretty yellow wildflower of the Western isles. As its name suggests it likes salt and grows near the sea.
Four Types of Plantain in Western Isles
There are 4 different types of plantain that grow here in the Western Isles, all with different features.
Sea Plantain with its long flowers spikes, Ribwort Plantain with short oval flowerheads, Great Plantain with its huge flat and wide ribbed egg-shaped leaves and Buck's Horn Plantain that grows in rocks crevices
Sea plantain has green flowers and yellow anthers and long leaves, narrow like grass. The leaves are hairless. It is a perennial herb that likes growing in salty places and grows to a height of about a foot.
The stem is leafless and it flowers June through to September. It has a very strong taproot which pushes right down into the ground to anchor the plant. This lovely yellow wildflower needs light in order to flourish and will not grow well in the shade.
Sea Plantain is Wind Pollinated
The flowers are wind pollinated and are produced in tight spikes on the end of long scapes, the spike being long and narrow.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).
The anther cavity is small, and pollen is only dispersed if the stamens are violently shaken. The anthers open above.The capsule when ripe splits across, and sets free the large seeds, which fall around the plant, and being winged they may be blown some little distance by the wind. The leaves grow from the woody base
The plant looks at its best when the pollen is produced, which is when the yellow anthers hang out from the flowers, the rest of the time it could be said to be a little drab looking. The yellow flowered sea plantain is noted for the fact that it attracts wildlife,insects and bees and butterflies etc.
Ribwort Plantain has strongly ribbed leaves which are finger shaped and the wildflowers are a pale brown with white stamens. In contrast to the long flower spikes of Greater Plantain, the short, oval flower heads of Ribwort Plantain display themselves almost as if they are doing a balancing act on the top of their thin, wiry stems. Ribwort Plantain is a plant of grasslands, field edges and cultivated ground and tracks
Great Plantain with its huge flat and wide ribbed egg-shaped leaves and grows where the ground is firm, like roadsides, waste grounds. The flowers of this plant are pollinated by the wind and not by insects. They are long and spiky and have a resemblance to rat tails, which is the name which is used sometimes. These long flower spikes produce many seeds and they are very attractive to feeding birds, especially in the winter.
Buck's horn plantain
Buck's Horn Plantain has a distinctive feature in that it has a spreading basal rosette of pinnately - lobed toothed leaves that look like miniature`antlers, thick and fleshy and hairy. It grows in rocks, crevices or by the sea. The leaves are sometimes grown as a vegetable
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|