common plantain

(Plantago major)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNA - Not applicable


not listed

Weed Status

Common plantain is primarily a weed of turf grass. Its seeds often contaminate cereal grains and crop seeds, further advancing its spread.

Wetland Indicator Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

common plantain

Common plantain is an exotic, very common, turfgrass weed. It is native to Europe, northern and central Asia, and northern and southern Africa. Evidence suggests that it was introduced in the early 1600s by Puritan colonists. It is one of the first plants to become established in North America following European arrival.

Common plantain is a 3 to 12 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a rosette of leaves and 1 or more flowering stalks (scapes) from fibrous roots.

The leaves are all basal and form a rosette. They are broadly elliptic to broadly egg-shaped, 1½ to 7 long, and to 4 wide, 1.3 to usually 2 times as long as wide. They have 3 or more prominent veins that separate at the base and are parallel to the margins. They are abruptly contracted at the base to the leaf stalk. The leaf stalk is hairless and green, even at the base. The margins are untoothed or irregularly toothed.

The scapes are leafless and 2 to 10 tall.

The inflorescence is an unbranched, cylindrical spike of tiny green flowers at the end of the scape. The spikes narrow, tapering, hairless, 2 to 11¾ tall, and less than wide.

The flowers are 1 16 to long. There are 4 green to white petals, 4 sepals, and 4 stamens. They are subtended by 1 16 to long, keeled, broadly egg-shaped, leaf-like bracts. Pollination is by wind.

The fruit is a capsule containing 6 to 30 seeds.



3 to 12


Flower Color

Green to white


Similar Species

Black-seeded plantain (Plantago rugelii var. rugelii) has leaf stalks that are reddish at the base. The bracts are lance-shaped to triangular.


Disturbed sites, gardens, lawns.



June to August


Pests and Diseases





Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28, 29, 30.



Native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Naturalized worldwide



Very common and widespread



Plantae (green algae and land plants)


Viridiplantae (green plants)


Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)


Embryophyta (land plants)


Tracheophyta (vascular plants)


Spermatophytina (seed plants)


Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)




Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)


Plantaginaceae (plantain)




Plantago (plantains)




Subordinate Taxa

common plantain (Plantago major ssp. intermedia)

common plantain (Plantago major ssp. major)

common plantain (Plantago major ssp. winteri)


Plantago major ssp. intermedia is often treated as the separate species Plantago uliginosa.

Flora of North America contends that detailed morphologic and genetic studies are needed before it can be determined which subspecies are present in North America and exactly where they occur.



Plantago adriatica

Plantago altissima

Plantago angustata

Plantago borysthenica

Plantago bracteata

Plantago compressiscapa

Plantago crenata

Plantago dentata

Plantago dilatata

Plantago dostalii

Plantago dregeana

Plantago exaltata

Plantago fonticola

Plantago gigas

Plantago gouanii

Plantago gracilis

Plantago humifusa

Plantago jehohlensis

Plantago jepohlensis

Plantago laciniosa

Plantago latifolia

Plantago limosa

Plantago longiscapa

Plantago loureiroi

Plantago majo ssp. fma

Plantago major f. bifida

Plantago major f. bracteata

Plantago major f. brevipedicellata

Plantago major f. crispa

Plantago major f. dilatata

Plantago major f. dostalii

Plantago major f. dura

Plantago major f. erecta

Plantago major f. lancifolia Lepage

Plantago major f. latissima

Plantago major f. major

Plantago major f. maxima

Plantago major f. megasperma

Plantago major f. megastachya

Plantago major f. minima

Plantago major f. minor

Plantago major f. nervata

Plantago major f. ovata

Plantago major f. pleiosperma

Plantago major f. pygmaea

Plantago major f. rocae

Plantago major f. rotundata

Plantago major f. scopulorum

Plantago major f. sinuata

Plantago major f. vulgaris

Plantago major ssp. asiatica

Plantago major ssp. dostalii

Plantago major ssp. gigas

Plantago major ssp. kimurae

Plantago major ssp. pachyphylla

Plantago major ssp. pachystachya

Plantago major ssp. pilgeri

Plantago major ssp. rigidifolia

Plantago major ssp. sinuata

Plantago major var. agrestis

Plantago major var. altissima

Plantago major var. angustata

Plantago major var. angustifolia

Plantago major var. angustissima

Plantago major var. borysthenica

Plantago major var. brasiliensis

Plantago major var. compressiscapa

Plantago major var. crispa

Plantago major var. dentata

Plantago major var. desertica

Plantago major var. dilatata

Plantago major var. dostalii

Plantago major var. dumanii

Plantago major var. elatior

Plantago major var. fastigiata

Plantago major var. flavovirens

Plantago major var. gigas

Plantago major var. glaberrima

Plantago major var. glabra

Plantago major var. intermedia

Plantago major var. japonica

Plantago major var. jehohlensis

Plantago major var. kimurae

Plantago major var. lanceolata

Plantago major var. latifolia

Plantago major var. luxuriosa

Plantago major var. macropoda

Plantago major var. major

Plantago major var. maxima

Plantago major var. megastachya

Plantago major var. microstachya

Plantago major var. minima

Plantago major var. minor

Plantago major var. monstrosus

Plantago major var. nana

Plantago major var. pachyphylla

Plantago major var. pachystachya

Plantago major var. paludosa

Plantago major var. paniculata

Plantago major var. pauciflora

Plantago major var. phyllostachya

Plantago major var. pilgeri

Plantago major var. pilosiuscula

Plantago major var. polystachya

Plantago major var. procera

Plantago major var. pubescens

Plantago major var. pygmaea

Plantago major var. racemosa

Plantago major var. ramosa

Plantago major var. rhodostachya

Plantago major var. rigidifolia

Plantago major var. rosea

Plantago major var. rubra

Plantago major var. runcinata

Plantago major var. sawadae

Plantago major var. sawadai

Plantago major var. scopulorum

Plantago major var. sinuata

Plantago major var. tropica

Plantago major var. uliginosa

Plantago major var. ungavensis

Plantago major var. vivipara

Plantago major var. vulgaris

Plantago maxima

Plantago media var. procera

Plantago minima

Plantago minor

Plantago nana

Plantago officinarum

Plantago pauciflora

Plantago polystachia

Plantago quinquenervis

Plantago rocae

Plantago rosea

Plantago sawadae

Plantago sawadai

Plantago sinuata

Plantago sorokini

Plantago stylosa

Plantago subsinuata

Plantago tabernaemontani

Plantago villifera

Plantago vulgaris

Plantago winteri


Common Names

broad-leaved plantain

buckhorn plantain

common plantain

grand plantain

greater plantain


nipple-seed plant










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common plantain   common plantain
common plantain   common plantain
common plantain   common plantain




Greater Plantain
Wez Smith

Greater Plantain

Greater Plantain (Plantago major).

Plantago major


Uploaded on May 17, 2011

· Plants of future (· GRIN - Taxonomic information (



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Other Videos

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major) ~ LuminEarth's How to Identify Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants
Becki Baumgartner


Uploaded on Sep 17, 2010

Broadleaf Plantain grows from a short, tough rootstock or rhizome, which has a large number of long, straight, yellowish roots, is a basal, rosette of large, broadly oval, dark green, leaves. The 4 to 10 inch long smooth, thick, strong and fibrous leaves have 3 to 7 or more ribbed veins, abruptly contracting into a long, petiole (leaf stalk) which is reddish at the base. The leaf margin of Broadleaf Plantain is entire, or unevenly toothed. The flower stalks, are erect, long, slender, densely-flowered spikes. Each tiny flower is brownish and bell-shaped with four stamens and purple anthers. Flowers bloom most of the summer. The fruit is a two-celled capsule and containing four to sixteen seeds. Gather young edible Broadleaf Plantain leaves in spring. Gather Plantain after flower spike forms, dry for later herb use. The young leaves of the Broadleaf Plantain plant are edible as a raw salad or cooked as spinach. Broadleaf Plantain contains Acubin which is reported to be a powerful anti-toxin. The leaves and the seed are medicinal used as an antibacterial, antidote, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antitussive, cardiac, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, haemostatic, laxative, ophthalmic, poultice, refrigerant, and vermifuge. Medical evidence exists to confirm uses as an alternative medicine for asthma, emphysema, bladder problems, bronchitis, fever, hypertension, rheumatism and blood sugar control.

For the most current and detailed information on this plant, please visit our FREE Online Guide to Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants at .

Disclaimer: The statements in these videos are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by or sanctioned by the FDA. Only your doctor can properly diagnose and treat any disease or disorder. The remedies discussed herein are not meant to treat or cure any type of disease. The user understands that the above information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or a pharmacist. Make sure you can positively identify a plant before ingesting it. Some plants are poisonous, and misidentification could possibly result in serious illness or death.

Greater Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago Major subsp. Major) - 2012-07-15


Published on Jul 18, 2012

Plantago major ("broadleaf plantain" or "greater plantain") is a species of Plantago, family Plantaginaceae.

De grote weegbree (Plantago major subsp. major) is een 10-50 cm grote plant uit de weegbreefamilie (Plantaginaceae).

Day Hike ( part 3 ) Common Plantain


Uploaded on Jul 28, 2010

It is suggested by many authors and online resources that Common plantain is a good cure for poison ivy and insect bites. I have not found that to be the case. the young leaves are edible, but can be stringy. I personally don't like the flavor, but it is a good plant to become familiar with.



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