This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Similar to the preceding species, the spikes less dense, at least toward the base, usually long-attenuate at the summit, sometimes 5" thick. Sepals oblong, prominently keeled on the back, the margins green or scarious; pyxis oblong-cylindric, 2"-3" long, twice as long as the sepals, circumscissile much below the middle and entirely within the calyx, 4-10-seeded; stamens 4.
In fields, woods and waste places, New Brunswick to Ontario, South Dakota, Florida, Kansas and Texas. Petioles commonly purple at the base. Usually brighter green and with thinner leaves than P. major. This species, or the preceding one, was known to the Indians as " White-man's-foot." Silk-plant. June-Sept.
Plantago lanceolata L. Sp. Pl. 113. 1753.
Perennial or biennial, more or less pubescent; rootstock mostly short, with tufts of brown hairs at the bases of the leaves. Leaves narrowly oblong-lanceolate, mostly erect, shorter than the scapes, entire, acute or acuminate at the apex, gradually narrowed into petioles, 3-5-ribbed, 2'-12' long, 3"-12" wide; scapes slender, channelled, sometimes 21/2° tall; spikes very dense, at first short and ovoid, becoming cylindric, blunt and ¥-4' long in fruit, 4"-6" thick; flowers perfect, proterogynous; sepals ovate, with a narrow green midrib and broad scarious margins, the two lower ones commonly united; corolla glabrous, its tube very short; filaments white; pyxis oblong, very obtuse, 2-seeded, slightly longer than the calyx; seeds deeply excavated on the face.
In fields and waste places, New Brunswick to the Northwest Territory, British Columbia, Florida and Kansas. Bermuda. Naturalized from Europe; native also of Asia. Sepals rarely metamorphosed into small leaves. April-Nov. Black-jacks. Jack-straws.
Dog's-ribs. Cocks. Kemps. Leechwort. Ram's-tongue. Rattail. Windles. Long-plantain. Ripple-grass. Kempseed. Headsman. Hen-plant. Clock. Chimney-sweeps. Cats'-cradles.
Plantago media L. Sp. Pl. 113. 1753.
Perennial, intermediate in aspect between P. major and P. lanceolata, the short rootstock clothed with brown hairs among the bases of the leaves. Leaves spreading, ovate, broadly oblong or elliptic, obtuse or acute at the apex, entire, or repand-dentate, densely and finely canescent, 5-7-ribbed, narrowed at the base into margined, usually short petioles; scapes slender, much longer than the leaves, 1°-2° tall; spikes very dense, cylindric and 1'-3' long in fruit, about 3' thick; flowers perfect, white; sepals all distinct, oblong, with a narrow green midrib and broad scarious margins; corolla glabrous; stamens pink or purple; pyxis oblong, obtuse, about as long as the calyx, 2-4-seeded, the seeds merely concave, stamens 4.