Cacalia plantaginea
Prairie indian-plantain
Image of Cacalia plantaginea

Photo by Bradford S. Slaughter 

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Key Characteristics

Tall perennial forb (up to 1.5 m) of open calcareous wetlands; leaves elliptical with arching parallel veins; flowers white, borne in flat-topped cluster.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
  • State Rank: S3 - Vulnerable
  • Global Rank: G4G5 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from apparently secure to secure


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Presque Isle32010
St. Joseph12012
Van Buren52005
Distribution map for Cacalia plantaginea

Updated 2/25/2015. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Occurs in a variety of moist, calcareous open habitat including fens, prairies, sedge meadows, and calcareous lakeshores.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Feel free to send questions and comments to Brad Slaughter at

Associated Plants

Bluejoint grass, cordgrass, rush, sedges, twig-rush, shrubby cinquefoil, swamp milkweed, big bluestem, Indian grass, Sullivant's milkweed, purple milkweed, swamp thistle, eastern prairie fringed orchid, marsh blazing star, whorled loosestrife, grass-of-Parnassus, smooth hedge nettle, swamp rose, Missouri ironweed, joe-pye weed, common bone set, spike-rush.


Requires protection of hydrology, groundwater source, and natural disturbance regime. This species benefits from management that includes prescribed fire and brush removal, which maintains open habitat and reduces competing woody vegetation. Control invasive species, particularly glossy buckthorn, a common invader of this type of habitat. Protect habitat from being drained and developed.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Nov 29, 2015]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References