ST HELENA PLANTAIN
Common name: St Helena Plantain
Scientific name: Plantago robusta
IUCN status: Low risk
This plant is related to the “ground plantain” (Plantago major – a common weed on the island) and can grow to be giant among plantains. Its size is quite variable, ranging from 0.15m to over a metre long.
It grows in the drier parts of the island, mainly in the far southwestern corners along the range from Distant Cottage to the Asses Ears and the cliffs of Man and Horse.
This species is found growing in loose soil, on rocky outcrops and in crevices. Other species such as the Tea plant and Scrubwood are associated with this species.
The plant forms a rosette with long narrow strap-like leaves up to 0.40m in length. It flowers in July to August, when the flower stalk rises from the centre of the rosette and resembles a thick rats tail, clustered with many small insignificant green flowers. Small round fruit are produced containing minute flat seeds.
NUMBER OF SURVIVING POPULATIONS
These plants survive naturally in the drier areas of the island at the Asses Ears, Distant Cottage and the cliffs of Man and Horse.
CONSERVATION RECOVERY PROGRAMMES
At present this species recover naturally on its own. With the removal of goats from the crown waste there are no major threats to these populations. However, the Environmental Conservation Section will continue to monitor the species annually and possibly restock the populations becoming extinct in the wild.