Flowering plants. Photo: Don Wood, ACT

Flowers. Photo: Lorraine Phelan, Moggs Creek near Melbourne, Vic

Common Name

Variable Plantain




Perennial forb to 20cm tall.  Leaves in a basal rosette, 6-25cm long, 5-20mm wide, hairy, margins entire or  toothed to lobed.  Flowers tubular, with 4 brown 'petals', in green to brown cylindrical spikes on stalks arising from the base of the plant.

Differs from Plantago cunninghamii, Plantago drummondii, and Plantago turrifera   in that the 'seeds' are 2.8-4 mm long, and are elliptical to almost globular (needs at least a hand lens to see).

Plantago debilis is similar to Plantago varia. However Plantago varia differs from Plantago debilis in that there are tufts of reddish brown hairs at the bases of the leaves.

Description in G.M. Cunningham, WE Mulham, PL Milthorpe and J H Leigh (1981 and later printings) Plants of Western New South Wales page 619

PlantNET description: