This section is from the book "Sub-Alpine Plants Or Flowers Of The Swiss Woods And Meadows", by H. Stuart Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Sub-Alpine Plants: Or, Flowers of the Swiss Woods and Meadows.
Flowers small, green, in leafless, crowded spikes. Sepals 4, persistent. Corolla 4-lobed. Stamens 4, with large exserted anthers. Ovary free, 2-4 celled. Stigma feathery.
Plantain. Leaves all radical, with strong parallel ribs. Plantago alpina L.
Root long and tapering, woody. Scape 6-9 inches long. Spike about 1 inch long. Leaves linear, 3-nerved, turning black when dry. Corolla-tube hairy.
Alpine and sub-alpine pastures up to 9000 feet. June to August.
Alps, Jura, Pyrenees, Spain, Bavaria.
Leaves shorter than in alpina, linear-lanceolate and more spreading, 3-5 nerved, glabrous or slightly hairy. Spike few-flowered. Corolla-tube glabrous.
Alpine pastures up to 8500 feet. June to August.
Alps and Pyrenees.
Scape 8-10 inches high, covered with silky hairs, like the whole plant. Spike many-flowered, with large oval-orbicular bracts. Corolla-tube glabrous. Leaves linear-lanceolate, acute, with 5-7 nerves, densely covered with silky hairs.
Alpine pastures from about 5600-7300 feet; very local.
S. Tyrol (Mte. Baldo) and Western Alps. Common in some of the Maritime and Ligurian Alps. Doubtfully recorded from two places in the Valais.
Plantago major and P. media are also common in the lower Alpine region.