A narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata) run amok
For such an unpretentious plant, the narrowleaf plantain can be capable of unexpected exuberance. Wandering through a field filled with plantain, I once found an attractive, sinuous stem. Here, anomalous growth has produced a sight that brings to mind the old saying about “three’s a crowd.”
Of course, this group of three flower heads doesn’t seem at all crowded. It’s simply another graceful example of nature doing what nature does so well: surprising and delighting with extraordinary versions of what we call ordinary plants.
Whatever the cause of the unusual growth — genetics, a virus, a response to injury — the result is memorable and the lesson clear. Even a so-called vacant neighborhood lot may hold unexpected treasure.