The small flowers are greenish-brown with purple stamens. Four fused sepals, 4 fused petals, 4 stamens; each flower is about 2 mm. 9-29-11. © Joan Avise

Common Plantain

Plantago major

Native to Europe and Asia, but naturalized worldwide.  It is thought to be one of the first plants to reach North America after European colonisation. Native Americans called the plant"White-man's footprint" because it appeared wherever they went. 

It is a common perennial along streams and moist disturbed places. It is distinguished from P. lanceolata by broader leaves and a much longer terminal flower spike.  Both are wind pollinated. 


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10-01-11. © Joan Avise

The edible spinach-like leaves have traditionally been used as a wound healer, diarrhea and snakebite remedy, to soothe insect bites and to staunch uterine bleeding after childbirth.  It is a potent coagulant.  People who used blood thinners should never ingest plantain. (Wikipedia). 4-19-09. © Joan Avise

Maturing fruits. 9-29-1. © Joan Avise

Several 4-16 in. flower stems rise from a basal rosette of thick basal leaves with converging veins at the base.  9-29-11. © Joan Avise

Conspicuous converging veins. 9-29-11. © Joan Avise

9-29-11. © Joan Avise