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Ribwort Plantain - Plantago lanceolata




Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]
General: Perennial herb from a short, stout, erect stem-base and taproot with secondary fibrous roots, the stem-base somewhat brown woolly-hairy; stems erect, few, simple, finely grooved, short stiff-hairy, 15-45 (60) cm tall.[IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: Basal leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate or narrowly elliptic, smooth to long-hairy, 3- to several-veined, 10-35 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, stalked, entire; stem leaves lacking.[IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: Inflorescence of dense bracteate spikes, the spikes more or less egg-shaped, becoming cylindric, 1.5-8 cm long, almost 1 cm thick; corollas greenish, 4-lobed, the lobes 2-2.5 mm long, spreading or reflexed; bracts widely egg-shaped, more or less equal to the sepals, thin, pointed; sepals next to the bract united; stamens conspicuous, yellow.[IFBC-E-flora]
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile. [PFAF]
Fruits: Capsules, narrowly egg-shaped, 3-4 mm long; seeds 2, rarely 1, ellipsoid, shining, blackish, minutely roughened, 2-3 mm long, deeply concave.[IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat & Range
Habitat: Mesic to dry lawns, fields and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones. [IFBC-E-flora]
Grassland, roadsides etc, a common weed of lawns and cultivated ground, on neutral and basic soils[9, 17]. [PFAF]
Range: common in SW BC, infrequent N along the coast and E in BC; introduced from Eurasia. [IFBC-E-flora]
Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, northern and central Asia. [PFAF]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses




Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. [PFAF]
Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils. [PFAF]
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure. [PFAF]
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Plants also succeed in very poor land[4]. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies[30].[PFAF]
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.[PFAF]

[E-flora] lanceolata&redblue=Both&lifeform=7, [Accessed: 9/18/2014]
[2] Personal Observation and notes.
[3] ,, Accessed on April 23, 2014.
[IEPL] Inhibitory effects of Plantago lanceolata L. on soil N mineralization, Marko Dietz , Susanne Machill, Herbert C. Hoffmann and Knut Schmidtke, Plant and Soil, 07/2013, Volume 368, Issue 1
[PFAF] Plantago lanceolata,, Plants for a future, Accessed September 18, 2014

The information presented on this site is provided for educational purposes. Self diagnosis and treatment, without due diligence, could be harmful and is not encouraged. Some information & images may be copyright. Every effort has been made to present the information in the spirit with which it was originally presented. Some data has been omitted for legal and/or practical consideration. There is some data not covered in the scope of this project, including, but not limited to, cell culture and large-dose animal studies. I have made comparisons and links between related species which may later prove erroneous. I have not verified the information for accuracy and I accept no responsibility for its authenticity. Many of the plants presented are poisonous, have poisonous properties, or could cause illness through misuse, allergic reaction, drug interactions and environmental contaminants. Please use caution and mindfulness when harvesting plants for any use.

Page last modified on 30-08-2016