Mar. 19, 2017

tuberous Indian-plantain, Arnoglossum plantagineum

My first day in the fen at Ives, this was one plant that really caught my eye. I'd never seen it before. A large patch, waist high, grows about halfway down the slope. At first, I had no idea what they could be. A close look reveals the anther tubes and bifid pistils typical of the aster family. However, Indian-plantain is anything but typical. The actual flowers are small, almost confused looking tufts at the top of half inch high bracts. They don't have many pollinators, but what they do have clearly get the job done. It may be because pistils that curl back like these often enable self pollination. Tuberous Indian-plantain grows in basic damp open ground in AL, AR, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI(S), MN(T), MO, MS, NE, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN(S), TX, WI(T), and ON(S). Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 6/28/11