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.
Sea plantain likes growing in salty places - that includes in crevices of rocks and cliffs by the sea, and in broad strips along the roadside (When roads are salted against ice, the salt is washed off forming the high-salt habitat that sea plantain favours).
Sea plantain prefers the saltmarsh above all, to the extent that in early June the green grass-like areas beside the shore which get frequently completely covered by the incoming tide on close inspection consist not of grass, but of sea plantain and thrift.
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).
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!
See a photograph of sea plantain for identification purposes.
Photography © Suzanne Harris
Callanish - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
16th June, 2007