Plantago maritima

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Plantago maritima
Plantago maritima.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
P. maritima
Binomial name
Plantago maritima
  • Arnoglossum gramineum Gray
  • Arnoglossum maritimum (L.) Gray
  • Plantaginella maritima (L.) Fourr.
  • Plantago juncoides Lam.
  • Plantago salsa Pall.
  • Plantago serpentina All.

Plantago maritima, the sea plantain, seaside plantain or goose tongue, is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. It has a subcosmopolitan distribution in temperate and Arctic regions, native to most of Europe, northwest Africa, northern and central Asia, northern North America, and southern South America.[2][3]


It is a herbaceous perennial plant with a dense rosette of leaves without petioles. 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.[4][5][6]


There are four subspecies:[3][6]

  • 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[6]).
  • Plantago maritima subsp. serpentina (All.) Arcang. Central Europe, on serpentine soils in mountains.

Ecology and physiology[edit]

In much of the range it is strictly coastal, growing on sandy soils. In some areas, it also occurs in alpine habitats, along mountain streams.[4] Some of the physiology and metabolism of this species has been described, of particular note is how the metabolism of this species is altered with elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.[7][8]


Like samphires, the leaves of the plant are harvested to be eaten raw or cooked.[9][10] The seeds are also eaten raw or cooked, and can be ground into flour.[9]


  1. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 9 November 2016
  2. ^ "Plantago maritima". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b Flora Europaea: Plantago maritima
  4. ^ a b Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  5. ^ Plants of British Columbia: Plantago maritima
  6. ^ a b c Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Plantago maritima
  7. ^ Davey, M. P.; Harmens, H.; Ashenden, T. W.; Edwards, R.; Baxter, R. (2007). "Species-specific effects of elevated CO2 on resource allocation in Plantago maritima and Armeria maritima". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 35 (3): 121. doi:10.1016/j.bse.2006.09.004.
  8. ^ Davey, M.; Bryant, D. N.; Cummins, I.; Ashenden, T. W.; Gates, P.; Baxter, R.; Edwards, R. (2004). "Effects of elevated CO2 on the vasculature and phenolic secondary metabolism of Plantago maritima". Phytochemistry. 65 (15): 2197–2204. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2004.06.016. PMID 15587703.
  9. ^ a b Plants for a Future, retrieved 9 November 2016
  10. ^ Seymour, Tom, Foraging New England: Edible wild food and medicinal plants from Maine to the Adirondacks to Long Island Sound, 2nd ed. (Guilford, Connecticut: Morris Book Publishing, 2013), pp. 2-4. See also: Seymour, Tom (June 2009), "Free Lunch: Foraging the Maine Seashore," Fishermen's Voice (Gouldsboro, Maine, U.S.A.).

External links[edit]