Plantago lanceolata

Ribwort Plantain

Botanical description: Plantago lanceolata is such a ubiquitous plant that it is often overlooked. Its basal rosette is composed of narrow leaves with a parallel vein formation that resembles grass, especially in young plants. Plantago lanceolata is also known as narrow-leaf plantain, Englishman's foot and ripple-grass, to name a few. Small white flowers emerge from nearly black, conical buds beginning as early as April, blooming continuously through October. The flowers are wind-pollinated and though prolific, are not that attractive to insect pollinators. An average plant can produce about 1,000 seeds, so it is no wonder that it is found nearly everywhere that human interaction with the environment has occurred. When wet, seeds become mucilaginous (slimy and sticky), which facilitates seed dispersal away from the parent plants. Aside from its remarkable reproductive capacity, Plantago lanceolata is a tough perennial, able to regenerate from parts of its fleshy root system that have been disturbed. Plantago can be found colonizing lawns and tree pits, but is equally able to thrive in sidewalk cracks and in rubble heaps.



Place of Origin