From Academic Kids

Plantain family
Plantago major
Plantago major
Scientific classification

See text

The Plantaginaceae Juss. or plantain family, is a family of flowering plants in the order Lamiales. In older classifications it used to be the only family of the order Plantaginales, but genetic research by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group demonstrated that this taxon should be included within the Lamiales.

The plantain family used to consist of only three genera, Bougueria, Littorella, and Plantago. However, new phylogenetic research (Olmstead, 2003) indicates that this family is much larger, including several genera from Scrophulariaceae, and, according to Olmstead, should be renamed Veronicaceae. However the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group prefers not to use this name, as it was first published in 1782, predating the APG's proposed new start date of 1789 for plant family names. The name Antirrhinaceae has also been proposed.

The Plantaginaceae s.l. (s.l. = sensu lato, in the broad sense) is a most diverse, cosmopolitan family, occurring mostly in temperate zones. It consists of herbs, shrubs and also a few aquatic plants with roots (such as the genus Callitriche). Being so diverse, the circumscription of this family is difficult to establish (see Albach et al. in the reference list below).

The leaves are spiral to opposite and simple to compound. Unusual in Lamiales is the absence of vertical partitions in the heads of the glandular hairs.

The structure and form of the flowers can be very variable. Some genera are 4-merous (i.e. with 4 sepals and 4 petals), such as Aragoa (but this one has 5 sepals); others are 5-8-merous, such as Sibthorpia. The flowers of most genera are polysymmetric. The corolla is often two-lipped. In some taxa, the androecium is formed before the corolla.

The fruit is a capsule that dehisces throught the partitions bewteen the cells. In Veronica this partition is in the length; in species of Antirrhineae the dehiscence releases the pollen through the pores at the tip of the anther; or it may come about through a transverse circular line around the capsule.


The enlarged Plantaginaceae s.l. / Veronicaceae consists of 90 genera and about 1,700 species. The larges genus is Veronica with about 450 species. Veronica also includes the genera Hebe, Parahebe and Synthyris, formerly often treated as distinct.


  • Olmstead, R. G., dePamphilis, C. W., Wolfe, A. D., Young, N. D., Elisons, W. J. & Reeves P. A. 2001. Disintegration of the Scrophulariaceae. American Journal of Botany 88: 348-361 - on line here (
  • Olmstead, R. G. 2003. Whatever happened to the Scrophulariaceae? Fremontia 30: 13-22.
  • Albach, D. C., Meudt, H. M. & Oxelman, B. 2005. Piecing together the "new" Plantaginaceae. American Journal of Botany 92: 297-315.

External link

Treatment of Plantaginaceae in MOBOT ( (Plantaginaceae) de:Wegerichgewächse eo:Plantagacoj fr:Plantaginaceae lt:Gyslotiniai augalai nl:Weegbreefamilie


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