Visit the temperate or colder shores of North America, South America, Africa, Asia or Europe, and you have a good chance of finding seaside plantain, or Plantago maritima.
A couple years ago, Tamara wrote the first, second, (and upcoming) fourth, and fifth entries for the series on the Coastal Flora of the Pacific Rim. I vaguely recall it was my responsibility to write the middle entry.
Plantago maritima does not rank among the showiest of plants. Still, it is to be admired for its ability to survive in difficult conditions including fluctuating salinity in whatever soil is available, salt spray, and wind exposure. At Botanical Beach where these plants were observed, plants were growing in or above the supralittoral zone, or the area where saltwater inundations can occur when stormwaters push waters over the typical high tide mark. This is evident by the accumulations of driftwood.
A second common name for the species is goose tongue, a reference to the fleshy linear leaves. These leaves are edible; you can read about harvesting and preparation on Nature of Words: Goosetongue Greens.
Additional photos are available from CalPhotos: Plantago maritima. The Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago also has an account of Plantago maritima where the authors express some doubt about the name assigned to the subspecies found in North America (so I’ve opted not to use it). But, if you are curious about some discussion about the various subspecies, you can read the Wikipedia account: Plantago maritima.