Posts Tagged English Plantain

Flores de Mayo

Flores de Mayo . . .

Viola sororia
(NYC 05 06 2018)

Instant summer temperatures in the center heart of the spring season have made Manhattan bloom at the start of May.

Just a few days of sun and shower have combined to turn the blue, white, and brown tones of the cold season into a multicolored outdoor scene anchored in green:

Dandelion

Taxicum officinale
(NYC 05 06 2018)

Dead-nettle

Lamium purpureum
(NYC 05 06 2018)

English Plaintain

Plantago lanceolata
(NYC 05 06 2018)

Garlic Mustard

Alliarim petiolata
(NYC 05 06 2018)

And one for the late Gary Lincoff, mycologist, guide, and author, who left us in Manhattan on March 16th:

Order Agaricales: for Gary
(NYC 05 05 2018)

Memories remain as May flowers on the West Side of Manhattan.

— rPs 05 06 2018

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Summer Blooms

Summer Blooms . . .

 

Plantago major 06 2016

Broadleaf Plantain, Plantago major (NYC 06 2016)

 

Bloomsday passed with a literary flourish on June 16 and now, just a few days later, Summer is here in New York City, or rather as of 6:34 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today, June 20.

Rain or shine, this is the peak time for the Wildflowers of the West Village. Multiple species, in some cases multiples varieties of the same genus, such as the plantains (Plantago) can be found edging lawns and other green spaces throughout the Five Boroughs.

Have a great summer season.

 

Plantago lanceolata 06 2016

English Plantain, Plantago lanceolata (NYC 06 2016)

 

– rPs 06 20 2016

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Anything but Plain

Anything but Plain . . .

Why mow this pretty lawn . . . It’s in bloom! (photo taken 09 25 2012)

One immigrant wildflower of the West Village arrived on the western hemisphere with the earliest of the European colonists. The presence of this plant along the margins of their settlements inspired neighboring natives to call it White Man’s Footprint. Lawns and sidewalk cracks everywhere today sport the bigfoot oval leaves and stubby green spikes of the common Broadleaf Plantain, Plantago major.

A flowering Broadleaf Plantain displays its distinctive footprint. (photo taken 09 28 2012)

Another relative in the Plantain family is, to my eye, one of the most attractive of the naturalized wildflowers. The bloom of this plant is neither colorful nor large, and it is not rare or secluded. What it does possess is the slender grace of its basic form, the geometry of its flowering, which combined provide the primary source of its beauty.

The species I praise so highly is the Ribwort Plantain, more commonly known as English Plantain, Plantago lanceolata.

The leaves of this perennial plant are, as its Latin name states, long, narrow, and pointed; a spike unlike its curvy broadleaf cousin. Clusters of these form a tight rosette that can be either prostrate or bushy, depending on the surrounding environment. The leaves tend to grow more thickly and upright in consistently moist areas.

The flowers top tall, smooth stalks that spread outward on a slightly curved trajectory. A brownish spike resembling an inverted sugar cone shoots out miniscule white stamens that look like a lit sparkler frozen in time.

The subtle, yet beautiful, bloom of the English Plantain is carried by the white stamens. (photo taken 09 25 2012)

The sight of one of these plants always reminds me of Albrecht Durer’s intimate watercolor: “Das Grosse Rasenstuck” (The Great Piece of Turf). The blooming English Plantain creates a pretty still life wherever it grows, the reason why I love this plant so, and why my lawn will always be left to nature.

A great piece of turf: English Plantain. (photo taken 09 11 2012)

–  rPs 09 28 2012

Postscript: view an image if “Das Grosse Rasenstuck” by following this link: http://www.artofeurope.com/durer/dur21.htm

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