San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[BRCC San Diego Natural History Museum: Research Library]
Plants that Attract Butterflies, A Gallery of Paintings by Albert Valentien

Painting of Plantago lanceolata, by Albert Valentien

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain)
Painted by Albert Valentien
© San Diego Natural History Museum

Plantago lanceolata

Plants in the genus Plantago, commonly known as plantains, generally have a rosette of basal leaves and flowers in a dense, terminal spike. Buckeye butterflies use plants from this genus as host plants, such as Plantago lanceolata, or English Plantain, which is a species introduced from Europe. Found in lawns and other disturbed areas, the English Plantain is in the family Plantaginaceae.

Another member of this family that is important for the Quino Checkerspot butterfly is Plantago erecta (not pictured). Plantago erecta is a native annual species, most frequently encountered in sparsely vegetated openings in coastal sage scrub, chaparral or oak woodland habitats. It is reported that the distribution of this plant may be correlated with the presence of crusts on the soil surface that appear to limit invasion by non-native plants, thus allowing the persistence of native annuals. Plantago erecta may become more abundant following fires, which result in an opening of the canopy for several years. Quino Checkerspot butterflies will occasionally also use plants in the Scrophulariaceae family as hosts, such as Owl's Clover, or Castilleja exserta.

Introduction to Valentien Collection
Gallery of Plants
Monarca: A Gallery of Butterfly Plants

Text by Margaret Dykens