Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
The ribbed leaves of this wildflower give ribwort plantain it's name. The only other plantain here with ribbed leaves is the greater plantain, that one has very broad, oval ribbed leaves. The ribwort plantain has long, narrow, ribbed leaves.
The flower of ribwort plantain is brown, the stamens are white. See a close-up of a ribwort plantain flower.
In early June on Reef machair, the nodding heads of the flowers on the horizon are mostly those of ribwort plantain, (see a photograph of ribwort plantain and daisies flowering on the machair).
If you get down low on the machair at this time you can get an idea of the enormous profusion of this plantain in the islands, a plant which is so often overlooked.
A week later on the saltmarsh, the sea plantain does the same thing, only in that instance instead of ribwort plantain and daisies, the view is of sea plantain and thrift.
We get four of the five UK species of plantain growing in the Western Isles:
Sea plantain, ribwort plantain, buck's horn plantain and great plantain.
They are easy to tell apart.
Ribwort plantain has stongly ribbed leaves which are finger shaped.
Great plantain has big flat and wide egg-shaped leaves (ribbed)
Sea plantain has yellow flowers and long leaves, narrow like grass.
Buck's horn plantain has leaves that look like minature`antlers!
Ribwort plantain is a native wildflower of the Western Isles.
Photography © Suzanne Harris
Bernera - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
9th June, 2007