Plantago major

'Purple Perversion'

Yes, this is the all-too familiar weed plantain. But I, on a ridiculous whim, have been collecting odd variants of this plant and breeding them together to create a bizzare dark leaved, ruffled version I call 'Purple Perversion' because it is purple and twisted, and you have to be a little perveted to want to grow it. 
Rest assured that it is still a weed, and will seed around like crazy. I'm okay with that, because I figure I'll have plantain in my lawn no matter what I do, so it might as well be fun looking.
I get asked frequently if this has the same edible and medicinal qualities as the regular green version, and the answer is I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't, but I honestly don't really know.
If you are wacky enough to want to grow this:

Plants are available from Arrowhead Alpines
Seeds are available from Jelitto

'Purple Deviant'

To make things even odder, I crossed 'Purple Perversion' with the 'Rosularis' form of Plantago which grows very cool leafy bracts on the flowering stem. The result is a plant that is a absolute frenzy of purple, ruffled leaves that doen't even look like a plantain any more. Sadly, for some reason, it is also incredibly wimpy, with plants only living a year or two before dying, and not seeding around like one would expect. If this was a plant I actually cared about, I would try to figure out how to solve the vigor issue, but frankly, I've already spent WAY too much time on this little weed, so I'm just giving up and accepting that it isn't meant to be.

by

Joseph Tychonievich