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Common plantain (Plantago major)

Common plantain Synonyms: Plantago asiatica, plantago halophila, plantago intermedia

Common Names: Broadleaf plantain, buckthorn plantain, rippleseed plantain

Description: Herbaceous perennial with a long history of medicinal properties.

Habit: Herbaceous perennial with a rosette of leaves 6-12 in. in diameter.

Leaves: Mature leaves are thick, leathery, broad, oval, up to 12 in. long and has 3 or more prominent veins parallel to leaf edge. Edges are smooth or irregularly toothed. Attached to compressed stem of the rosette by a thick green petiole that is as long as leaf blade.

Stems: Erect, flowering stems, 5-15 in. tall, leafless, unbranched, terminate in cluster of inconspicuous flowers.

Flowers: Inconspicuous, greenish or whitish in color, clustered in long narrow spikes.

Fruit and seeds: Egg shaped capsule, less than 0.25 in. long, split across middle into 2 equal segments containing 6-20 brown, glossy, ridged seeds.

Habitat: Native to Eurasia. Can be found growing in rich, moist soils including turfgrass, landscapes, orchards, nurseries, waste places, and cultivated fields.

Reproduction: By seed and vegetatively via root fragments. Capable of producing 14,000 seeds per year with a viability of up to 60 years.

Similar species: Buckthorn plantain (Plantago lanceolata) which is similar in appearance but has narrower, lance-shaped leaves and a much more compressed flower cluster.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from The Ohio State University Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( Individual photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Common plantain

Scientific Name:

Plantago major







USDA Symbol: