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Plantago lanceolata

Plantago lanceolata L.

Plantago altissima auct. non L.

Plantago lanceolata L. var. sphaerostachya Mert. & W.D.J. Koch

English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyPlantaginaceaePlantains
GenusPlantagoFrom Latin plantago, “footprint,” since plantains popped up where European settlers walked
Specieslanceolata“Lance-like”—usually a reference to leaf shape, probably a reference to the fruits in this case

About plant names...

English plantain is a European native, found in Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, and northern and central Asia. It is naturalized in North America, and common in lawns, as well as prairies, roadsides, and plains.

Plants: Plants are 6-24" (15-60 cm) tall, with bare, ridged stems.

Leaves: Leaves are in the form of a basal rosette, with ascending, smooth-edged, narrowly elliptic or narrowly oval leaves 4-16" (10-40 cm) long. Leaves have three or more parallel nerves.

Flowers: An oval structure ½-3" (1.3-7.6 cm) tall atop each stem is festooned with tiny white flowers ⅛" (3.2 mm) in size. The flowers form a ring of diminutive blooms that begins at the bottom of the oval and works upward, appearing from Apr-Aug.

Fruits: Fruits are ¹/₁₆-⅛" (3-4 mm) in size, splitting open when dry.

Edibility: Young leaves are edible raw or cooked, though bitter and very fibrous. Seeds may be ground and added to flour.

Online References:

Plantago lanceolata at Illinois Wildflowers

Plantago lanceolata on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

Plantago lanceolata on ARKive: Images of Life on Earth

Plantago lanceolata on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

References:

Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 360

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/2/2016 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/9/2016 · Monhegan Island, ME

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

5/31/2010 · Mt. Lebanon St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 16 × 24" (41 × 62 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

7/12/2013 · Wooden Bridge, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 10 × 7" (25 × 16 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

7/12/2013 · Wooden Bridge, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 6" (11 × 14 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/9/2016 · Monhegan Island, ME

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

8/7/2013 · Amos Kendall Conservation Land, Dunstable, MA
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 20 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/2/2016 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA

Plantago lanceolata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 21 Jun 2017.

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Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/2/2016 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/17/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Nashoba Hospital, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.5 × 13 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

8/2/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/20/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

8/2/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 4½ × 4½" (11 × 11 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

6/2/2016 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

7/7/2012 · Gibbet Hill, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 3½" (9.2 × 9.4 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

5/31/2010 · Mt. Lebanon St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 4" (10 × 11 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

7/7/2012 · Gibbet Hill, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm)

Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain, Ribwort Plantain)

5/31/2010 · Mt. Lebanon St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 3 × 4½" (7.9 × 11 cm)

Range: Zones 5-9:

About this map...