Sp. Pl. ed. 2, 1: 168. 1762.
Annuals; roots taproots, slender. Stems 100–350 mm, freely branched. Leaves cauline, opposite, 30–60 × 1–4 mm; blade linear to linear-lanceolate, margins entire or slightly toothed, veins conspicuous or not, surfaces hairy. Scapes 30–50 mm, hairy. Spikes greenish or brownish, 40–65 mm, densely flowered, glandular-hairy; bracts all similar, ovate, 3–5 mm, lengths 1–1.5 times sepals. Flowers: sepals 3–3.5 mm; corolla radially symmetric, lobes reflexed, 2–3 mm, base obtuse; stamens 4. Capsules lanceoloid. Seeds 2, 2–3 mm. 2n = 12.
Phenology: Flowering summer.
Habitat: Disturbed habitats.
Elevation: 0–200 m.
Introduced; Mass., s Europe.
Plantago afra is known in Massachusetts from a single collection made in 1927 in Worcester County.
Plantago psyllium Linnaeus (1762, not 1753), a rejected name, and P. indica Linnaeus are misapplied names that pertain here. Plantago squalida Salisbury is an illegitimate name that pertains here.