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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



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


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

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:


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


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

Crescent City, California

Cordele, Georgia

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Brookeville, Maryland

Maplewood, New Jersey

Brooklyn, New York

Colver, Pennsylvania

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Fair Play, South Carolina

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 7, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This plant from Europe is listed in many weed books and publications, and I normally treat it as such. It does have some herbal properties and is a good host plant for some caterpillars. Commonly found all over the lower 48 states in the USA and much of Canada in lawns, gardens, waste places, and abandoned lots.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.