The Plantaginaceae are herbs or sometimes small shrubs, sometimes aquatic, comprising about 114 genera and 2,100 predominately temperate species. The leaves are alternate, opposite, or sometimes whorled, and are simple; stipules are absent. The flowers are usually bisexual and zygomorphic, but actinomorphic in Plantago, and reduced in Callitriche. The calyx is commonly 4-5 lobed or cleft. The corolla is sympetalous, usually 4-5-lobed, often 2-lipped, and sometimes forms a nectary spur or sac. The androecium consists of 2 stamens or more commonly of 4 didynamous stamens adnate to the corolla tube or perigynous zone, alternate with the lobes; a fifth stamen is sometimes represented by a staminode. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 2 carpels, a single style, and a superior ovary with 2 locules, each containing numerous axile ovules.  A nectary disk is usually present at the base of the ovary (absent in Plantago and Callitriche). The fruit type is usually a capsule.

Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.

Plantago lanceolata, English plantain.  The membranous, 4-parted corolla and wind pollination in this genus are exceptional in the family.
Plantago major, broad-leaved plantain. Note the protogynous flowers in the inflorescence on the left. The stamens emerge somewhat after the stigmas are exposed (right inflorescence).
Plantago pachyphylla, laukahi kuahiwi. Hawaiian endemic.
Plantago princeps, laukahi kuahiwi. Hawaiian endemic, note woody stem, an unusual feature in the genus.
Plantago purshii, Vic. Spokane, WA, Jul 2004
Hippuris vulgaris, Angeran, Sweden.  Aquatic species with highly reduced flowers.
Angelonia salicariaefolia. Glandular ornamental herb from tropical America. Note the strongly zygomorphic, 2-lipped corollas.
ant_majs.jpg (9360 bytes) Antirrhinum majus, snapdragon, a common ornamental species.
Bacopa diffusus, Corvallis OR, July, 2003.
Collinsia heterophylla, Chinese houses, CA.
Collinsia parviflora, blue-eyed Mary
Digitalis purpurea, foxglove. This is the species that provides the important heart stimulant, digitalin.
Gratiola sp., Finley National Wildlife Refuge, OR, Jul 2004.
Kickxia elatine, sharpoint fluellin, Avery Park, OR, Jul 2004.
Linaria dalmatica, Dalmation toadflax, vic. Cheney, WA.
lin_vuls.jpg (9846 bytes) Linaria vulgaris, yellow toadflax, butter and eggs.  Note the very long spur.  Vic. Cheney, WA
Lindernia sp.
Mimulus alsinoides, baby monkey-flower, vic. Umpqua, OR, April, 2004.
Mimulus biflorus, bush monkeyflower.
Mimulus douglasii. Oregon, 2003.
Mimulus cf. guttatus, monkeyflower. These flowers with their strongly zygomorphic and 2-lipped corollas are typical of most species in the family.
Otacanthus caeruleus. Note the strongly zygomorphic, 2-lipped corollas.
Penstemon acuminatus, c. 7 mi W of Pasco, WA, 2002.
Penstemon cf. cinicola, Diamond Lake, OR, July, 2003.
Penstemon sp.
Russelia equisetiformis, coral plant, fountain bush, firecracker plant.
Synthryis renformis, spring or snow queen, OR, 2003.
Torenia sp., ornamental annual species from Indochina
Veronica cusickii, speedwell. The flowers with a deeply 4-lobed corolla and only 2 stamens seen here represent a striking deviation from the more usual floral construction found in the family.
Veronica sp.

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