common plantain

(Plantago major)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNA - No Status Rank


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


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 Eurasia. Naturalized worldwide





  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  


Plantaginaceae (plantain)  
  Tribe Plantagineae  
  Genus Plantago (plantains)  
  Subgenus Plantago  



Plantago asiatica

Plantago halophila

Plantago major var. asiatica

Plantago major ssp. intermedi

Plantago major var. intermedia

Plantago major var. major

Plantago major var. pachyphylla

Plantago major var. pilgeri

Plantago major var. scopulorum


Common Names


broad-leaved plantain

buckhorn plantain

common plantain

grand plantain

greater plantain


rippleseed plant











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  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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