Common Plantain


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide

Common Plantain
Common Plantain
(Plantago major)
a.k.a. way-bread
Common Plantain is a perennial with leafless stalks, which can grow up to 30 cm. in height. Common Plantain grows from fibrous roots.

LEAVES:
- The leaves of the Common Plantain grow around the base of the plant
- usually hairless
- broad and oval
- parallel veins are very prominent
FLOWERS:
- green and very small
- found in a long spike at the top of the stalk
FRUIT:
- capsules that contain many seeds
HABITAT:
- Common Plantain is found in low to mid elevations
- Common Plantain appears in disturbed areas or those with many weeds
- Common Plantain is very common in the southern interior of BC
- Often found growing on lawns or the borders or driveways
FASCINATING FACTS:
- ripe seed heads can be used for bird food.
- Common Plantain is often called 'soldier's herb' because it has been used over the centuries to treat wounds on the battle fields.
- as the Roman legions did when they marched across continents, hikers today can place the leaves in their boots to reduce the effects of blisters and pain.
- Common Plantain leaves can be chewed and the juices mixed with saliva to be spread on abrasions, burns or bee stings.
- Plantain is a common ingredient in a poultice or salve.

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Common Plantain