Broadleaf plantain

August 21, 2015

Plantago major L.

Life cycle

Rosette-forming simple perennial.

Plantain Broadleaf seedling
Broadleaf plantain seedling.


All leaves originate from a basal rosette. Cotyledons are long and spatula-shaped. Leaves are generally smooth and broadly to narrowly oval, with parallel veins and smooth to slightly wavy leaf margins. Leaf base tapers to a distinct petiole. Petioles are usually green but occasionally pale pink. 

Plantain Broadleaf Seedling
Broadleaf plantain rosette.


No visible aboveground stem. Short taproot present. 

Flowers and fruit

Leafless stalks bear long, dense, cylinder-shaped flowering spikes and fruit resembling a rat-tail. Single flowers are inconspicuous. Fruiting capsules yield many narrowly oval, usually glossy brown seeds. 

Plantain Broadleaf Rosette
Broadleaf plantain flowering spikes.



Similar weeds

Blackseed plantain (P. rugelii Dcne.) Differs by often having dark red to purple petioles, usually wavy leaf margins and dull dark brown to black seeds.

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