Scientific Name: Plantago cordata
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2011
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: In Canada, only two populations of this semi-aquatic species are known both in undisturbed wet forest patches of the Carolinian zone of southwestern Ontario. The species has declined throughout its range, as a result of deterioration or loss of the clear, shallow streams and seepages in which it occurs. The small range and specific habitat requirements of this species make it vulnerable to declines in habitat quality. The main threats include timber harvesting, agricultural runoff, alteration to riparian habitats, and other activities that contribute to eutrophication or siltation of the aquatic habitat.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 1985. Status re-examined and confirmed Endangered in April 1998, May 2000, and November 2011.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Image of Heart-leaved Plantain
The Heart-leaved Plantain is a perennial herb. The roots are branching, fleshy and massive. There is a rosette of large, heart-shaped leaves at the base of the plant. The small flowers are found on the top 20 cm of the flowering stems; individual plants have 80 to 130 flowers. The dark brown seeds measure 2.5 to 3.5 mm in length; each capsule contains two or three seeds.
Distribution and Population
The original North American range of the Heart-leaved Plantain extended from Ohio to Michigan and Minnesota, south to the southeastern United States. Today it is characterized by a widespread geographical range within which it has a very localized distribution. In Canada, the Heart-leaved Plantain is found only in two locations, both in southwestern Ontario.
The Heart-leaved Plantain is associated with the occurrence of limestone and dolomitic rock. It often grows within cracks of the bedrock or in gravel, in shallow, clear streams running through heavily wooded areas. It is often found close to limestone quarries and gravel pits. In Ontario, it occurs along intermittent streams in mature, silver maple swamp.
In Canada, the Heart-leaved Plantain begins to flower in mid-April. The plant is pollinated by wind. Self-pollination is possible because of self-compatibility and the presence of several spikes at different stages of maturity on the same plant. The average number of seed capsules per plant is 86. The seeds are dispersed by wind and water. Seedlings appear only a few weeks after the seeds have dispersed.
Habitat destruction and modification are the main limiting factors for the habitat-specific Heart-leaved Plantain. The plant is sensitive to water quality including eutrophication and siltation. Eutrophication favours the growth of algae; the algae then entrap the seeds and kill the seedlings. In addition to the need for high water quality, a large buffer of woods on either side of the stream is needed to prevent incidental cutting of the plantain and to provide shade. A drastic reduction in the amount of mature, wet woods has resulted from conversion to agriculture and alteration of natural stream courses through ditching, damming, siltation, pollution and stream flow changes. Cattle grazing and trampling eliminated one of the known Ontario populations.
The Heart-leaved Plantain is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
The Heart-leaved Plantain is protected by the Ontario Endangered Species Act. Under this Act, it is prohibited to kill, harm, harass, or collect this species, or to destroy its habitat.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Heart-leaved Plantain (Plantago cordata) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Carolinian Woodland Plants Recovery Team
Jarmo Jalava - Chair/Contact - Other
Phone: 705-760-2823 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
5 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Heart-leaved Plantain (2013-01-03)In Canada, only two populations of this semi-aquatic species are known both in undisturbed wet forest patches of the Carolinian zone of southwestern Ontario. The species has declined throughout its range, as a result of deterioration or loss of the clear, shallow streams and seepages in which it occurs. The small range and specific habitat requirements of this species make it vulnerable to declines in habitat quality. The main threats include timber harvesting, agricultural runoff, alteration to riparian habitats, and other activities that contribute to eutrophication or siltation of the aquatic habitat.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2011-2012 (2012-10-05)Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (September 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) from November 21 to 25, 2011 and from April 29 to May 4, 2012. On February 3, 2012, an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee of COSEWIC also assessed the status of the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). During the current reporting period COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 67 wildlife species. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2011-2012 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 1 Extirpated: 4 Endangered: 29 Threatened: 10 Special Concern: 15 Data Deficient: 2 Not at Risk: 6 Total: 67 Of the 67 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 49 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment (see Table 1a).