Scientific Name: Plantago cordata
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2011
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Image of Heart-leaved Plantain
The Heart-leaved Plantain is a perennial herb. The roots are branching, fleshy and massive. There is a rosette of large, heart-shaped leaves at the base of the plant. The small flowers are found on the top 20 cm of the flowering stems; individual plants have 80 to 130 flowers. The dark brown seeds measure 2.5 to 3.5 mm in length; each capsule contains two or three seeds.
Distribution and Population
The original North American range of the Heart-leaved Plantain extended from Ohio to Michigan and Minnesota, south to the southeastern United States. Today it is characterized by a widespread geographical range within which it has a very localized distribution. In Canada, the Heart-leaved Plantain is found only in two locations, both in southwestern Ontario.
The Heart-leaved Plantain is associated with the occurrence of limestone and dolomitic rock. It often grows within cracks of the bedrock or in gravel, in shallow, clear streams running through heavily wooded areas. It is often found close to limestone quarries and gravel pits. In Ontario, it occurs along intermittent streams in mature, silver maple swamp.
In Canada, the Heart-leaved Plantain begins to flower in mid-April. The plant is pollinated by wind. Self-pollination is possible because of self-compatibility and the presence of several spikes at different stages of maturity on the same plant. The average number of seed capsules per plant is 86. The seeds are dispersed by wind and water. Seedlings appear only a few weeks after the seeds have dispersed.
Habitat destruction and modification are the main limiting factors for the habitat-specific Heart-leaved Plantain. The plant is sensitive to water quality including eutrophication and siltation. Eutrophication favours the growth of algae; the algae then entrap the seeds and kill the seedlings. In addition to the need for high water quality, a large buffer of woods on either side of the stream is needed to prevent incidental cutting of the plantain and to provide shade. A drastic reduction in the amount of mature, wet woods has resulted from conversion to agriculture and alteration of natural stream courses through ditching, damming, siltation, pollution and stream flow changes. Cattle grazing and trampling eliminated one of the known Ontario populations.
Federal ProtectionThe Heart-leaved Plantain is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
The Heart-leaved Plantain is protected by the Ontario Endangered Species Act. Under this Act, it is prohibited to kill, harm, harass, or collect this species, or to destroy its habitat.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Heart-leaved Plantain (Plantago cordata) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Carolinian Woodland Plants Recovery Team
Jarmo Jalava - Chair/Contact - Other
Phone: 705-760-2823 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
5 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
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