Page author: David Giblin
Plantago major
common plantain, great plantain

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Roadsides, fields and other disturbed, open areas.

Flowers: April-August

Origin: Introduced from Europe

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Fibrous-rooted perennial from a short, stout, woody base, mostly glabrous, not woolly at the crown; scapes 5-25 cm. long.


Leaves all basal, the broadly elliptic to broadly ovate blade contracted abruptly to the petiole, entire or irregularly toothed, 4-18 cm. long and 2.5-11 cm. wide, strongly 3- to several-nerved.


Inflorescence a dense, bracteate, narrow spike, 5-30 cm. long, glabrous; bracts broad, thin-margined, 2-4 mm. long; calyx 4-lobed; 4 corolla lobes 1 mm. long, reflexed; stamens 4, exerted; ovary superior, 2-celled.


Capsule 2.5-4 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Plantago major L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 112-113. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Plantago major L. var. major [HC]
Plantago major L. var. pachyphylla Pilg. [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Plantago major in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Plantago major checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Plantago major information.

E-Flora BC: Plantago major atlas page.

CalPhotos: Plantago major photos.

USDA Plants: Plantago major information.

23 photographs:
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