Common water-plantain is a stout aquatic herb with oval-shaped leaves, which may be rounded or heart-shaped at the base (4). The pale lilac flowers are borne on a greatly branching inflorescence, and open between 1pm and 7pm each day (2). The curvature of the ribs on the leaves of water plantain was one of the inspirational natural features used by John Ruskin in the development of his theories on gothic architecture; he claimed that they were models of 'divine proportion' (5).
Widespread throughout much of Britain, but rarer in the north of Scotland, Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and Orkney. Elsewhere, it is found in temperate Europe (2), and has become widely naturalised outside of its natural range (3).
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