The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Holden Arboretum
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
The conservation of Plantago cordata is fully sponsored.
Dorothy M. Brazis contributed to this Plant Profile.
The heartleaf plantain is a semi-aquatic plant that is found primarily in central and northeastern U.S. and Canada, with disjunct populations occurring in Georgia and possibly Florida. (Bowles and Apfelbaum 1987) This species has declined throughout much of its range, with a number of Midwestern populations now extirpated or at existing only as small remnant populations. The largest, most healthy populations exist in areas with unaltered watersheds (Morgan 1980).
This perennial herb has a rosette of large (up to 10 inches long), heart-shaped leaves that have distinct veins arising from their midvein and radiating outwards. These leaves are found on the plant only in the summer. During the winter months, small, lance or spatula-shaped leaves take their place, and transition in size during the spring and fall seasons. The aptly-named heartleaf plantain begins to flower in mid-April, producing 80 to 130 small whitish flowers along flowering spikes that can grow one or even two feet in height. Its flowers are wind-pollinated, but capable of self-pollination (Tessene 1969; Meagher et al. 1978).
Distribution & Occurrence
- New York
- North Carolina
Found in areas of dolomitic limestone, often growing in rock crevices or gravel bars in shallow, clear streams running through heavily wooded area. This species requires a very specific stream habitat, in which the processes of erosion and deposition are regular and predictable--agricultural or quarrying practices that increase the erosion rate and sediment load in a stream have a detrimental effect on this species. (Bowles and Apfelbaum 1987, Species at Risk 2001)
|In Ohio, there are records in Adams, Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Erie, Franklin, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, and Scioto counties.
Nine stations are known in Illinois (Herkert and Ebinger 2002)
2 Known populations in Mississippi
Common in Missouri, with the most numerous and large populations known from this state.
Known from two populations in Ontario, Canada (Species at Risk 2001)
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Cannot survive severe modifications to habitat
Increased water flow as a seedling
Encroaching urban sprawl
Destruction of forests
Trampling by livestock
Damming of streams
Allen, G.M.; Oldham, M.J. 1985. Plantago cordata Lam. (Heart-leaved plantain) still survives in Canada. The Plant Press. 3: 94-97.
Bassett, I.J. 1967. Taxonomy of Plantago L. in North America: Sections Holopsyllium Pilger, Palaeopsyllium Pilger, and Lamprosantha Decne. Canadian Journal of Botany. 45: 565-577.
Bowles, M.; Bachtell, K.R.; DeMauro, M.M. 1988. Status and restoration of Plantago cordata in the southern Lake Michigan Region. Natural Areas Journal. 8: 122-123.
Bowles, M.L.; Apfelbaum, S.I. 1989. Effects of land use and stochastic events on the heart-leaved plantain (Plantago cordata Lam.) in an Illinois stream system. Natural Areas Journal. 9, 2: 90-101.
Godfrey, R.K. 1961. Plantago cordata still grows in Georgia. Castanea. 26: 119-120.
Harper, R.M. 1944. Notes on Plantago, with Special Reference to P. cordata. Castanea. 9: 121-131.
Johnson, M.F. 1981. Phrymaceae and Plantaginaceae in Virginia USA. Virginia Journal of Science. 32, 1: 12-16.
Meagher, T.R.; Antonovics, J.; Primack, R. 1978. Experimental ecological genetics in Plantago, III. Genetic variation and demography in relation to survival of Plantago cordata, a rare species. Biological Conservation. 14: 243-257.
Mymudes, M.S.; Les, D.H. 1993. Morphological and Genetic Variability in Plantago cordata (Plantaginaceae), a Threatened Aquatic Plant. American Journal of Botany. 80, 3: 351-359.
Orzell, S.L. 1984. Additional notes on rare endangered and unusual Missouri USA fen plants. Transactions of the Missouri Academy of Science. 18: 13-16.
Stebbins, G.L.; Day, A. 1967. Cytogenetic evidence for long continued stability in the genus Plantago. Evolution. 21: 409-428.
Stromberg, J.; Kunowski, M.; Stearns, F. 1983. Preservation and Introduction of Heart-shaped plantain (Wisconsin). Restoration and Management Notes. 1, 304: 29.
Tessene, M. 1969. Systematic and ecological studies on Plantago cordata. Michigan Botanist. 8: 72-104.