Ontario Weeds: Broad-leaved plantain
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication
Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Broad-leaved plantain, Plantago
Other Names: Common plantain, Doorweed, Dooryard plantain, Plantain, Whiteman's foot, grand plantain, plantain majeur
Family: Plantain Family (Plantaginaceae)
General Description: Perennial, reproducing only by seed. Plant stemless, except for the leafless flowering stalks.
Stems & Roots: Root system thick
Leaves: Leaves all in a basal rosette, oval or elliptic, 5-30cm (2-12in.) long, the blade about as long as its thick green stalk, smooth or somewhat rough-hairy, with 3 to several prominent veins radiating from the leafstalk towards the tip, margins smooth or irregularly toothed.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers in compact spikes on erect, leafless stalks from among the basal leaves; each spike about the size and shape of a lead pencil but consisting of many, tiny, stalkless, greenish flowers giving it a coarsely granular texture; each flower about 2-3mm (1/12-1/8in.) across, with 4 sepals, 4 petals, 2 stamens and 1 pistil; the egg-shaped seedpod developing beneath the withering flower; this mature seedpod splitting apart with a circular fracture around its middle so that the top part drops off and releases the 5 to 16 dark brown or nearly black angular seeds, each about 1mm (1/25in.) long. Flowers and sets seed from spring until late autumn.
Habitat: Broad-leaved plantain is very common in all but the most remote unsettled areas of Ontario occurring in cultivated land, pastures, meadows, waste places, roadsides, lawns and gardens.
Similar Species: It is distinguished by its rosette of dull green, oval leaves with thick green stalks, and its elongated spikes of tiny green flowers each followed by a small egg-shaped pod with usually more than 5 tiny dark brown or nearly black seeds.
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