Plantago maritima

Botanical Name : Plantago maritima
Family:Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
Species: P. maritima
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names :Sea Plantain, Seaside Plantain, Goose Tongue

Habitat :Plantago maritima is  native to most of Europe, northwest Africa, northern and central Asia, northern North America, and southern South America. Like samphires, the plant is commonly harvested in the Maritimes and eaten.It grows in short turf in salt marshes near the sea and by streams in mountains, usually in saline or wet soils

Description:
Plantago maritima is a herbaceous perennial plant with a dense rosette of stemless leaves. Each leaf is linear, 2-22 cm long and under 1 cm broad, thick and fleshy-textured, with an acute apex and a smooth or distantly toothed margin; there are three to five veins. The flowers are small, greenish-brown with brown stamens, produced in a dense spike 0.5-10 cm long on top of a stem 3-20 cm tall.

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It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

There are four subspecies:
*Plantago maritima subsp. maritima. Europe, Asia, northwest Africa.

*Plantago maritima subsp. borealis (Lange) A. Blytt and O. Dahl. Arctic regions. All parts of the plant small, compared to temperate plants.

*Plantago maritima subsp. juncoides (Lam.) Hultén. South America, North America (this name to North American plants has been questioned).

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*Plantago maritima subsp. serpentina (All.) Arcang. Central Europe, on serpentine soils in mountains.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Young leaves – raw or cooked. A delicious flavour. This is one of the nicer-tasting members of the genus, the leaves are fairly low in fibres and make an acceptable addition to a mixed salad. The leaves are canned for winter use in Alaska. Seed – raw or cooked. The seed can be ground into a powder and used as a flour extender. The seed is very small and tedious to harvest.

Medicinal Uses:
Laxative.

Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes . Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantago_maritima
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Plantago+maritima
http://www.korseby.net/outer/flora/rosopsida/plantaginaceae/plantago_maritima_aehre.jpeg

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