This native of much of Europe and Asia has since spread worldwide, where it is a very
common weed. Native americans, observing it for the first time after Europeans came to
the Americas, called it "white man's footprint" or "Englishman's foot."
Identification: Plants have a rosette of low-lying oval
leaves, each 1¾-8" (5-20 cm) long and 1½-3½" (4-9 cm) wide. It produces stalks 6-18" (15-45 cm)
tall, with inconspicuous greenish white flowers along the entire length. The tall stalks are the most
noticeable feature of the plant. The flowers become small green
seedpods about ⅛" (3.2 mm) long, containing 10-20 tiny seeds. Plantain grows in virtually any
soil, inhabiting spaces no sensible plant would dare approach, such as heavily trodden sand parking
Edibility: The young leaves are edible. Remove the fibrous
strands before using them on salads. Blanching (brief immersion in boiling water) softens
them a bit.