Pale Indian plantain is a herbaceous perennial with a large central stalk, silvery-coated, irregularly-shaped leaves, and a terminal, flat-topped inflorescence of white flowers surrounded by stiff green bracts. The late to midsummer flowers work for naturalizing, back of the border and cottage gardens.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Mixed border,
- Large plant (more than 24 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Alkaline soil
Season of Interest:
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Upright, mounds of basal leaves up to 3 feet high, with flower stalk plants can reach 8 feet high.
Sun to part shade in well drained soil. Tolerant of moist soil.
Can be aggressive once established, due to prolific seed production.
Disease, pests, and problems
Native geographic location and habitat
Found throught North America in dry open woods, rocky woodlands, thickets, slopes and alone streams.
Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife
Butterflies and other pollinators
Alternate, low mounds of fan-shaped to triangular leaves (deltate), similar to sycamore leaves, up to 12 inches wide.
Thick and leathery with upper surface medium green and lower surface has a grayish white bloom giving it a light green color.
Margin have shallowly pointed lobes.
Stems are reddish and glaucous, smooth with smaller palmately lobed leaves as the move futher up the stem.
A thick, central stalk holds flat-topped cluster (corymbs) of tiny white tubular flowers.
Each disk flower has a cream-colored corolla with light green bracts. Blooms mid-summer to early fall.
An insect (wasp, flies and bees) must cross pollinate flower for plants to produce viable seeds.
Achene with tufts of white hairs.
Related species and their differences
Prairie Indian plantain (Arnoglossum plantagineum): A 3 to 4 foot high prairie wildflower with thick elliptical leaves and distinct parallel veins. A stout central stem has conspicuous red veins. Flowers are flat-topped clusters of small white flowers in early May through June.