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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

09 August, 2016

Bucks-horn Plantain: its in the bag



I suppose some plants are just boring! No nice flowers, no impressive foliage, nothing. Well, to my mind, plantains fall into the boring category and are not much to look at. Indeed, it would be easy to think that they are not actually flowers at all. 
The buck's-horn plantain (Plantago coronopus) is very much a part of typical seaside vegetation and is common near our coasts on grassy areas, sandy and rocky, close to the sea. Although not much to look at it is quite distinctive with the 'flower' heads on stems that come out from the centre base of the plant in a curve upwards to form a sort of crown (coronpus?). It is the leaves of the plant that give rise to 'buck's horn' as they are the shape of deer antlers.
It may not be much to look at but it is grown commercially as a vegetable called minutina or erba stella and it is sometimes included in bags of salad mix sold in supermarkets as the leaves have a sweet, nutty flavour.  
Bucks-horn Plantain: its in the bag