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Plantago lanceolata - L.

Common Name Ribwort Plantain, Narrowleaf plantain
Family Plantaginaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grassland, roadsides etc, a common weed of lawns and cultivated ground, on neutral and basic soils[9, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, northern and central Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain, Narrowleaf plantain

Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain, Narrowleaf plantain

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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Plantago lanceolata is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to August, and the seeds ripen from Jun to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind, flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.



 Lawn; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Young leaves - raw or cooked[12, 46, 61]. They are rather bitter and very tedious to prepare, the fibrous strands are best removed prior to eating[9, 183]. The very young leaves are somewhat better and are less fibrous[K]. Seed - cooked. Used like sago[177, 183]. The seed can be ground into a powder and added to flours when making bread, cakes or whatever.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial;  Antidote;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Expectorant;  Haemostatic;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic;  

Ribwort plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly staunches blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue[254]. The leaves contain mucilage, tannin and silic acid[244]. An extract of them has antibacterial properties[240]. They have a bitter flavour and are astringent, demulcent, mildly expectorant, haemostatic and ophthalmic[9, 13, 21, 145, 165, 222, 244, 254]. Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever[238, 254]. They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc[4]. The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc[213, 222]. The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes, it is used in equal portions with Marrubium vulgare[207]. The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms[213]. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes[238]. Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds[238]. A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion[7].

Other Uses

Dye;  Fibre;  Starch.

A good fibre is obtained from the leaves[4], it is said to be suitable for textiles[115]. A mucilage from the seed coats is used as a fabric stiffener[4]. It is obtained by macerating the seed in hot water[100, 115]. Gold and brown dyes are obtained from the whole plant[168].

Cultivation details

Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Plants also succeed in very poor land[4]. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies[30].


Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Alisma plantago-aquaticaGreat Water Plantain, ZE-XIE, European water plantain, American water plantain, Northern water plan13
Plantago affraPsyllium13
Plantago amplexicaulis 12
Plantago arenariaFrench Psyllium13
Plantago asiaticaChe Qian Zi13
Plantago australisMexican Plantain12
Plantago camtschatica 12
Plantago coronopusBuck's-Horn Plantain32
Plantago crassifolia 12
Plantago cunninghamii 00
Plantago debilis 00
Plantago decipiens 12
Plantago depressa 12
Plantago hakusanensis 12
Plantago juncoides 12
Plantago majorCommon Plantain, Cart Track Plant,White Man's Foot ,Plantain23
Plantago maritimaSea Plantain, Goose tongue, California goose tongue32
Plantago mediaHoary Plantain22
Plantago oliganthus 12
Plantago ovataBlond Psyllium, Desert Indianwheat23
Plantago psylliumFleawort23
Plantago rugeliiBlackseed Plantain12


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Julie Bruton-Seal   Mon Jan 29 2007

Ribwort is the best first aid remedy I know of for bee and wasp stings. Pick a leaf or two, crush or chew, and rub on the sting site until it stops hurting. Usually the pain wil not return, and you will only notice an itching after a few days as it heals. This also helps relieve the itching of mosquito bites.

   Mon Jul 20 2009

NobelPlus Centralna databaza farmaceutickych a pribuznych produktov

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Subject : Plantago lanceolata  
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