Plantago purshii R. & S.
Family - Plantaginaceae
Stems - Acaulescent. Flowering spikes and peduncles to +20cm tall, from taproot, hirsute to villous, herbaceous.
Leaves - Basal, linear-spatulate to linear, parallel-veined, to +10cm long, -1cm broad, entire, acute to rounded at apex, hirsute to villous, the base gradually tapering to the petiole.
Inflorescence - Dense terminal spike to +8cm long, 8mm in diameter. Flowers subtended by sepallike bract.
Flowers - Corolla 4-lobed, scarious, zygomorphic, salverform. Lobes spreading, 2mm long, glabrous. Stamens 2, short, adnate at apex of corolla tube. Anthers copper-brown. Sepals 4, densely pilose to sericeous externally, glabrous internally, to 3mm long, 1.2mm broad. Ovary superior, 2-locular. Capsules to 2.2mm long, circumsissle.
Flowering - May - August.
Habitat - Loess hills, glades, dry prairies, waste ground.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This little plant is found naturally in a few western counties of Missouri and has been introduced into a couple of scattered counties also. The plant is fairly easy to ID in the field as it has densely sericeous flowering spikes and long, thin, villous leaves.
Photographs taken at Dave Rock Conservation Area, St. Clair County, MO., 6-7-03.