Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle
Plantaginaceae or Plantain Family

The Plantaginaceae or Plantain Family has recently undergone extensive phylogenetic studies with determinations that this family should be placed in the order Lamiales. This is a major shift, The Plant List includes 120 plant genera and over 7,000 scientific plant names of species rank for the new family. Such changes will be included here in our next revision.

Common family characteristics for Arizona species include: foliage leaves all basal; small flowers perfect or unisexual in terminal bracted spikes; fruit a circumscissile capsule with few seeds.

The original Plantain family taxonomy included 3 genera in Plantaginaceae Bougueria, Littorella, and Plantago with a little more than 160 species combined. The largest genus is Plantago with more than 155 species.

The USDA describes 2 genera (Plantago, Littorella) in North America with over 50 taxa for Planaginaceae.

  • Plantago major, Common Plantain
  • Plantago ovata, Desert Indianwheat
  • Plantago patagonica, Woolly Plantain
  • Date Family Profile Completed: 04/20/2016
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database.
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 04/20/2016).
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Plantaginaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 January 2016, 21:50 UTC,> [accessed 20 April 2016]