Plantago rugelii

Botanical Name : Plantago rugelii
Family:Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
Species: P. rugelii
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Plantaginales

Synonyms. Plantago rugelii var. alterniflora Farw.,

Common Names:Blackseed Plantain, Rugel’s plantain, American plantain, Red-stalked plantain

Habitat : Plantago rugelii is native of North America (Eastern N. America – Quebec to North Dakota, south to Florida.) .It is similar to the closely related Plantago majorĀ  and grows in damp shores, roadsides and waste places.It is a ruderal species and is common on lawns and disturbed sites.P. rugelii is difficult to differentiate from Plantago major in the vegetative state. Plantago Rugelii grows in more moist and shaded habitats than does Plantago Major.

Description:
Plantago rugelii is an erect perennial forb with fibrous roots which grows from 3 to 12 inches tall. It blooms from June through August producing narrow, tapering, 2 to 12 inch flower spikes. It’s leaves are oval to elliptical with three veins. The bases of the leaf stalks have a reddish appearance. This characteristic in addition to paler green color, less waxy appearance, lack of hairs and toothed, irregular margins distinguishes P. rugelii from the similar and closely related Plantago major (broadleaf plantain).

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Identifying Characteristics: Blackseed Plantain (Plantago rugelii) has petioles with red or purple colorations at their bases, a lighter green, less waxy leaf appearance, and capsules that split below the middle. These are all characteristics that help to distinguish it from the closely-related Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major). Additionally, the leaves of blackseed plantain are hairless, and have toothed and wavy margins, unlike the leaves of broadleaf plantain.

It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind. The plant is self-fertile.

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. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation :
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native habitat it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position.

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.

Young leaves – raw or cooked.

Medicinal Uses:

Laxative; Poultice.

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. A poultice of the fresh leaves is used to treat burns and inflammations.

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_rugelii

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Plantago+rugelii

http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/plaru.htm

http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/image/p/plru–fr36379.htm

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