Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #36 Hoary Plantain

Bradlaugh Fields Hills & Hollows June - Plantago media

With its tall, pale pink, bottle-brush flowering spikes, the hoary plantain looks quite orchid-like from a distance, and has a flat rosette of broad leaves of a pleasingly contrasting, almost sea-green colour. The Online Atlas of the British Flora describes the plant as “a perennial herb, characteristic of chalk and limestone soils but also occurring on heavy clay soils. The main habitats are downland grassland and tracks, calcareous pasture and mown grassland (such as churchyards); it is less frequent in hay meadows and on fixed dunes, and is sometimes found in water-meadows which receive calcareous water …” It is not anything like so often seen nowadays as it was in the past, when George Francis complained in his Little English Flora that it was a “great plague to the farmers, whole fields being sometimes covered in it, especially in the South of England.”


2 thoughts on “Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #36 Hoary Plantain

  1. Hi Jeff, yes just spotted an emerging spike this week in a place where I saw one last year. There’s so much springing up at Bradlaugh at the moment – much looking forward to your walk next Sunday, I’ve been putting some posters around …

    As you say, hoary plantain is a favourite with me also, one I’d really like to enourage in my garden. And since looking up ribwort plantain for this blog a couple of weeks ago I’ve discovered not only that birds love greater plantain seeds, but we humans can eat the young leaves I’m enthusiastic to collect some seeds of that and grow some on my allotment – just don’t let the neighbours see the “weeds”, they call them, lol!


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