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Plantago major

Description

A herbaceous perennial species of Plantago. It grows in lawns and fields, along roadsides, and in other areas that have been disturbed by humans. Native Americans called it "white man's footprint" because it appeared and thrived in disturbed areas around European settlements.  Plantago does particularly well in compacted or disturbed soils and can survive repeated trampling.  Its roots work to break up hardpan soil and can help stop erosion.  

It forms a rosette of broadly lance to egg-shaped leaves with smooth margins and an acute apex.  Leaves are 2-8 inches long and 2-4 inches wide.  They have 5-7 prominent veins that start at the base of the leaf are stringy and can be seen in the petiole if a leaf is pulled from the plant.  Flowers appear April to September and are inconspicuous greenish-brown with white to purple stamens.  The flowers appear on spikes from the center of plant and seeds form all down the flower stem.  Plaintain is wind-pollinated.  Each plant can produce 20,000 small oval-shaped orange to black bitter-tasting seeds.  

Broadleaf plantain is also a highly nutritious wild edible, that is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten. The seeds are also edible.

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#perennial#weed#edible weed#weedy#herbaceous#edible garden#perennial weed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#perennial#weed#edible weed#weedy#herbaceous#edible garden#perennial weed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Plantago
    Species:
    major
    Family:
    Plantaginaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe and Central Asia
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Edibility:
    Leaves and seeds can be eaten
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Perennial
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Prostrate
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Occasionally Wet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds are edible
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Inconspicuous - Narrow cylindrical, dense spike of greenish flowers along the upper two-thirds of each stalk.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The upper surface of each blade is medium green and glabrous to sparsely canescent. Lower surface light green with finely pubescent along the veins. When you pull a leaf off of the plant , the petiole area is stringy.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Weedy