Hoary Plantain (Plantago media) is a member of the Plantain Family, and can reach a height of 50 cm on a leafless stem, where the base arches and is covered in short dense hair which is more prominant at the top of the stem.
The flower is often small and white, it is roughly 1.5 – 2 mm in length, there are 4 stamens with long filaments, these are often white / pale purple in colour and produces a fragrant smell. The leaves are often rosette shaped at the base and stalked as it creeps up the stem. The edges of the leaves are often sparsely toothed with small, soft, white hairs in a thin layer.
Hoary Platain is often found in gardens and can survive a long period in this environment due to its rosette, as it lays so close to the ground it is not damaged by mowing, but it cannot survive the grazing.
Hoary Plantain is probably the most impressive of the Plantain Family, it is able to attract a wide variety of insects such as small honey bees and beetles, but it is not totally reliant on these insects to pollinate the flower, it can also be wind pollinated.
Height: Up to 30cm
Flowering Time: June to Aug
Preferred Conditions: This wildflower prefers to grow in chalk, limestone and heavy clay areas, where conditions are calcareous. It is most frequently found in down land and mown grassland.