WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

With tuft-like basal rosettes of densely-hairy, narrow leaves, this annual resembles grass until it sends up multiple 2–18-inch tall bloom stalks (scapes). Note the densely-packed, white-woolly hairy spike lined with tiny flowers with 4 whitish-tan, almost transparent lobes.


FLOWER: February–July. Tiny flowers with an erect, hairy, pointed, leaf-like bract line a 2–4-inch long (5–10 cm) densely-woolly, cylindrical spike at the tip of a leafless stalk (scape). Flowers have 4 spreading, whitish-brown, oval lobes, 1/16–1/8 inch long (1.5–2 mm).


LEAVES: Basal rosette. Blades linear, narrow, to 6-inches long (15 cm), 3/8 inch wide (10 mm); margins entire, both surfaces densely long-hairy.


HABITAT: Dry sandy, gravelly soils; slopes, foothills, dunes, roadsides, open, disturbed areas; desert grasslands and scrub, shrublands, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,000–8,200 feet


RANGE: Widespread west of Mississippi River, through the Rockies, and the Southwest.

SIMILAR SPECIES: The introduced Narrowleaf Plantain, P. lanceolata, naturalized nearly statewide, has linear-elliptic, 5-veined leaves that reach 10-inches long and have few to no surface hairs, and 6–18 inch long flower stalks. Also introduced and naturalized, Common Plantain, P. major, has broad, oval, pointed basal leaves.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread and common statewide in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats.

 

WOOLLY  PLANTAIN

PLANTAGO  PATAGONICA

Plantain Family, Plantaginaceae

Annual herb

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• Each flower in the spike has a single, leaf-like bract (upper arrow).

  1. The spike and flower stem (scape) are densely hairy with long-woolly hairs (middle arrow).

  2. Long hairs cover both surfaces of the narrow leaves (bottom arrow).

• Long, cylindrical spikes of tiny flowers grow on the ends of the flower stems.

• Long, narrow, hairy leaves grow a dense basal rosette.

Tiny flowers with 4 whitish, nearly transparent petals densely pack the spikes on the stem tips.