Plantago wrightiana Decne.
Family - Plantaginaceae
Stems - Plants acaulescent, from a big taproot.
Lower portion of scape.
Upper portion of flowering scape.
Leaves - All basal, linear to linear-oblong, mostly entire but with a few small whitish tubercles on each margin, glabrous to sparse pilose adaxially, pilose abaxially, with 2-4 main side nerves (nerves run parallel to the midrib), dull-green, to 17cm long, -1cm broad, rounded to subacute at the apex.
Inflorescence - Many long-pedunculate flower spikes. Scapes to 30cm long, terete, solid, green, antrorse appressed pubescent in the upper 2/3, pilose at the base. Spikes to 7-8cm long, +/-8mm in diameter, very densely-flowered. Rachis densely pilose. Each flower subtended by 1 subulate bract. Bracts 4-5mm long, 1-1.7mm broad, green with translucent margins. Margins pilose basally.
Flowers - Sessile. Sepals 4, joined at the base, green with large translucent margins, rounded at the apex, to +4mm long, 2mm broad, pilose externally, glabrous internally, completely enveloping the ovary of the flower. Ovary green, glabrous, shiny, 4mm long, +2mm in diameter, with a transverse suture in the basal 1/3, 2-celled. Corolla 4-lobed, translucent. The two lateral lobes larger than the dorsal and ventral lobes, to +3mm long, 2-3mm broad, rounded at the apices, glabrous. Corolla tube short (-1mm long) ferruginous. Stamens 4, adnate to the corolla tube, alternating with the corolla lobes, only the anthers exserted. Anthers yellow, .6mm long, .3mm broad, sagittate. Style absent. Stigma included, 1-1.5mm long.
Flowering - May - July.
Habitat - Disturbed sites, waste places, railroads.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This species has been reported in just two Missouri counties (St. Louis and Scott) and is much more common in the southeastern U.S.
Photographs taken off Lee Rd 27, Auburn, AL., 4-30-06.