Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ribwort Plantain, Narrowleaf Plantain
Plantago lanceolata

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago (plan-TA-go) (Info)
Species: lanceolata (lan-see-oh-LAY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Plantago altissima
Synonym:Plantago lanceolata var. sphaerostachya

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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to view:

By melody
Thumbnail #1 of Plantago lanceolata by melody

By Baa
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By Baa
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By Baa
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By CaptMicha
Thumbnail #7 of Plantago lanceolata by CaptMicha

There are a total of 16 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive paulc93 On Feb 19, 2012, paulc93 from kinsale
Ireland wrote:

it is used in wales as good grazing for sheep and cattle, the leaves are a good source of calcium, phosphate, potassium and sodium, as well as trace elements of copper and cobalt.

Negative mekos On Nov 24, 2010, mekos from Fair Play, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Just considered a weed here we cut down. They come up colunteer and multiply like crazy.

Positive BotanyDave On May 11, 2005, BotanyDave from Norman, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

In Scotland, the Gaidhlig name for this plant is "Slan lus" -roughly, 'plant of healing.' It stops swelling and is in general rather useful. Nice flowers too.

Negative cherishlife On Nov 12, 2004, cherishlife from Pocola, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The USDA has this plant listed as a noxious weed for Arkansas and Iowa.

Neutral CaptMicha On Jun 20, 2004, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Invasive but pretty. Also serves as a host plant to a vast number of lepidoptera and is used in many herbal remedies.

Neutral Baa On Sep 23, 2001, Baa wrote:

Perennial from Europe mainly Great Britain which has spread throughout the world.

Has rosettes of linear, lanceolate, mid green, ribbed (3-7) leaves which can be hairless or slightly downy. Bears tall spikes of minature bull rush like flowers.

Flowers April - October.

Adores grassland and has very little in terms of soil needs, it grows in sunny positions and will happily live in the lawn like its relatives.

Can be used in a poultice on boils and sores for its antiseptic properties. It has very similar properties to Plantago major and can be used for the same things.

This particular species has in the past been used for stiffening fine linen and can be used to make paper.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Crescent City, California
Cordele, Georgia
Benton, Kentucky
Brookeville, Maryland
Maplewood, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Fair Play, South Carolina

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