Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Sparsely hairy herb with lance-shaped leaves lying close to the ground arising from a central point (like a dandelion), up to 30 cm long and 8 cm wide, with parallel veins, flower in centre of leaves, an up to 60 cm tall stem with a cylindrical flowerhead more than 10 cm long at the top, consisting of many small brown flowers.
Scattered throughout both islands, rare in the East.
Wetlands, water body and wetland margins, wet pasture, also occasional in dry sandy areas.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte (non-wetlands).
Hairy perennial herb with short stout caudex and numerous adventitious roots. Lvs all radical, few to many in the rosette; petiole usually 1-20 cm long, often purple, sometimes very short and ill-defined with woolly tuft at base. Lamina c. 2.5-30 × 7-8 cm, lanceolate, or obovate to broad-elliptic, hairy, especially beneath on the raised 5 or 7 main veins, entire or remotely dentate; base attenuate; apex obtuse. Scape c. 5-60 cm long, ± terete, densely hairy in upper part. Spike generally > 10 cm long at maturity, narrow-cylindric. Bracts usually slightly < sepals, ciliate, otherwise very similar to sepals. Sepals 2-3 mm long, broad-ovate, scarious except for central green or purple band, usually glabrous except for ciliate keel. Corolla tube = calyx; lobes 2.5-3 mm long, ovate, mostly soon curling involutely and forming a prominent, acute, erect, cone. Stamens glabrous, usually with small anthers and included (cleistogamous fls), sometimes with large, long-exserted anthers (chasmogamous fls). Style hairy, > corolla. Capsule 2.5-3.5 mm long, ovoid or ellipsoid-ovoid, 3-seeded. Seeds 1.8-2.2 mm long, ovoid-ellipsoid or oblong, generally deep olive green, sometimes brownish green or almost black (Webb et al., 1988).
Most similar to broad-leaved plantain (P. major) which has much broader (up to 16 cm across) hairless leaves and narrow-leaved plantain (P. lanceolata) that is also hairless and has a much shorter flower head with a ribbed stalk.
November to January
Seed dispersed by water, animals or contaminated machinery.
Southern North America, Central and South America
Reason for introduction
Unknown, seed or soil contaminant.
Not controlled in New Zealand.
plantago: Old Latin name for flat-leaved plants
Prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA).
References and further reading
Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand Volume 4: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.
Popay et al (2010). An illustrated guide to common weeds of New Zealand, third edition. NZ Plant Protection Society Inc, 416pp.
Johnson PN, Brooke PA (1989). Wetland plants in New Zealand. DSIR Field Guide, DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 319pp.