The plantain weed, commonly known as broadleaf plantain, is actually a perennial herb that provides us with many medicinal and culinary uses, even though it's a widely despised lawn weed.
This perennial weed is commonly found in our lawns here in North
America, as well as in fields, meadows, and waste lands. While it grows
best in rich soil, it will survive very well in poor soil, producing
If left undisturbed, the entire plant can get as large as 12 inches across, with seed stalks as high as 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall.
Plantain, native to Europe, was very likely intentionally brought here as a food crop. Thought to have followed the white man's steps, as it grew readily in new settlements, it was called White Man's Foot by many North American Indians. Some say it actually resembles a foot.
Used on the battlefield as a field dressing, it was also commonly known as "Soldier's Herb".
It's a smooth stemmed, stiff plant, that usually grows from 6 to 18
inches high. It has dark green, toothed, rosette leaves that grow close
to the ground, with greenish-white or purplish-brown cylindrical spiked
The plantain weed, much like the dandelion, is a typical lawn weed. It gets noticed when the seed spikes rise above the lawn in late summer.
Not only does is spread from new shoots off the roots, being a
perennial, it also produces a large seed population from the flower
spikes. It blooms from May through September, and if left unattended,
broadleaf plantain plants can take over a lawn rather quickly. You'll
need to practice some good organic lawn weed control measures to keep it
Despised by gardeners and farmers alike, this lawn weed may be quite under-rated if recognized as a valuable healing plant and nutritious food source.
Lawn weed plantain uses include both herbal remedies and good cooking. We've put together a collection of medicinal and culinary recipes for you to explore and enjoy.
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