Ontario Weeds: Narrow-leaved plantain

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Habitat
  6. Similar Species
  7. Related Links

Name: Narrow-leaved plantain, Plantago lanceolata L.,

Other Names: Buckhorn plantain, English plantain, Ribgrass, plantain lancéolé, plantain à feuilles lancéolées, herbe à cinq coutures

Family: Plantain Family (Plantaginaceae)

General Description: Perennial, reproducing only by seed. It is distinguished by its rosette of long, narrow leaves with prominent, parallel veins, and its slender, leafless stems tipped with short, dense, oval spikes of tiny flowers.

Photos and Pictures

Leaves of a narrow-leaved plantain.

Flowers of a narrow-leaved plantain.

Narrow-leaved plantain. A. Plant.
Narrow-leaved plantain.
A. Plant.

B. Seedling.
B. Seedling.

Habitat: It occurs throughout Ontario in pastures, meadows, roadsides, cultivated fields, lawns and gardens.

Similar Species: Very similar to Broad-leaved plantain in general habit of growth; differing mainly in having long, narrow leaves which have very prominent, almost parallel veins or ribs which run the length of the leaf, sometimes the blade being strongly folded lengthwise along each rib, and the very short, compact, somewhat oval spike of tiny flowers at the ends of long, thin, leafless stems; at flowering, the spike surrounded by a halo of anthers at the ends of long thin stamens protruding from the flowers; seedpod contains only 1 or 2 seeds, each about 3mm (1/8in.) long. Flowers from spring until late autumn and the plant may act as an annual or perennial.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 June 2000
Last Reviewed: 01 November 2003