Plantago Species, Broadleaf Plantain, Common Plantain, Greater Plantain, Rat's Tails

Plantago major

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago (plan-TA-go) (Info)
Species: major (MAY-jor) (Info)
Synonym:Plantago asiatica
Synonym:Plantago halophila
Synonym:Plantago intermedia
Synonym:Plantago major var. asiatica



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (yellow-green)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Pelham, Alabama

Aurora, Colorado

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Iowa City, Iowa

Benton, Kentucky

Melbourne, Kentucky

Saint Hilaire, Minnesota

Springfield, Missouri

Brooklyn, New York

Ogdensburg, New York

Belfield, North Dakota

Youngstown, Ohio

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Spring Branch, Texas

Kennewick, Washington

Appleton, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 7, 2012, scubamom from Gregory, TX wrote:

This awful little weed has sprung up everywhere in our Canyon Lake Texas yard! The spikes produce what seems like millions of tiny sticky burrs that attach to everything - socks, slacks, dogs, cats, fabric of any kind, and is almost impossible to remove. No wonder they came over from Europe - probably attached themselves to everything the people brought with them.

We are planting a ton of wildflower seed this fall in hopes that they might get a head start on this weed and snuff it out. At least I've read that it might be the only way to eliminate them. Will report back next spring!


On Aug 4, 2008, RosemaryA from Toronto, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

I was surprised to read that some people actually grow this plant on purpose.

Here in Toronto it is a widespread weed, which will outcompete grass and take over a lawn if not checked. The coarse leaves and uninteresting brownish-greenish flower spikes are an unattractive addition to a lawn (in my opinion) and the flower spikes are rigid enough that they aren't pleasing to walk on barefoot (again in my opinion).


On Jun 22, 2008, kryistina from (Zone 6a) wrote:

Very tasty in salads in early spring, and cooked or in stews later in the season and throughout summer. Makes a great pot herb as well, high in nutrients.

Needs very little care or watering, poultice is great on stings and bites, and seeds are high in fiber and good added to flours. Is simple to propagate with seed or root.


On May 18, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant may cause hay fever in some indivdual's. Its seeds are sometimes used in birdseed.


On Sep 21, 2001, Baa wrote:

A tough perennial with a deep tap root found in the Northern Hemisphere but native to Europe. North American Indians called it White Man's Foot since it seemed to grow everywhere the English settlers went and has settled where ever the English went in the world carried in the cereal seed.

Has broad, ovate, leathery, slightly ribbed, mid green leaves which grow in flat rosettes. Bears tall spikes of tiny green flowers, spikes can reach up to 20 inches long looks similar to a minature bull rush.

Flowers June-September.

Like a lime rich, well drained soil in sun or partial shade but isn't fussy at all. Prefers lawn areas but will grow practically anywhere you don't want it to.

Not something you would normally want to grow, many pe... read more