Plantago varia R.Br.

Variable Plantain

Prodr. 425 (1810) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Taprooted perennial. Leaves rosetted, narrow-elliptic, mostly 6–20 cm long and 0.5–2 cm wide, acute or obtuse, pubescent, 3–5-veined, margins usually with conspicuous triangular and often retrorse teeth; petiole indistinct. Spike cylindric, mostly 3–11 cm long, congested, sometimes more open at base; peduncles 5–25 cm long, pubescent; bracts ovate, 2.8–3.5 mm long, acute, keel pilose, margins ciliate. Sepals elliptic, usually 2.8–3.5 mm long, subequal; corolla-tube 2–2.5 mm long, lobes 1.5–2.3 mm long, spreading or reflexed; anthers 1.5–2.5 mm long, exserted. Capsule ovoid to subglobose, mostly 3–3.5 mm long, style-base persistent; seeds 1–5, compressed-ellipsoid, 1.5–2.5 mm long, brown. Flowers mostly Aug.–Apr.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, MuM, NIS, OtP, OtR, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Also SA, Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas. Widespread and often locally common through a wide range of habitats, but generally replaced by Plantago debilis in moist, shaded sites.

Plants of intermediate morphology between Plantago varia and P. gaudichaudii have been collected at various locations in Victoria and South Australia. See also note under P. antarctica. Plants with aberrant leaf-like bracts have been collected at Somerton.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Plantaginaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-04-01
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Lamiales
genus Plantago
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Plantago varia in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Plantago varia in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory