Plantago lanceolata (English Plantain)

Plant Info
Also known as: Narrow-leaf Plantain, Buckhorn Plantain
Family:Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; lawns, roadsides, woodland edges, fields, waste areas
Bloom season:June - October
Plant height:6 to 16 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Inconspicuous flowers densely packed in a cylindrical spike ½ to 3 inches long and about 1/3 inch wide, at the end of a long naked stem. The flowers open in a ring around the spike, starting at the bottom and progressing upwards, the stamens’ long filaments and large white tips (anthers) extended out about as far as the central column is wide. Spent flowers, sepals and bracts below the blooms are papery brown, buds above the blooms are gray-green. Rarely a spike contains only pistillate (female) flowers.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are basal, narrowly lance-elliptic, 4 to 16 inches long and ½ to 1½ inches wide, mostly toothless, with smooth or short fine hairy surfaces and 3, 5 or 7 prominent veins along its length. The basal rosette is usually densely packed, the leaves erect to spreading. Flowering stems are grooved and covered to varying degrees in short hairs pressed close to the stem (appressed), especially towards the base.


A relative newcomer to Minnesota landscapes, Plantago lanceolata is native to Eurasia but now a common weed of urban areas world-wide. It isn't likely to be confused with other plantain species in Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey County, Minnesota, Seattle, Wasington, and in Illinois.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gary - Carlton County
on: 2020-01-16 10:14:59

In the city of Carlton along some back streets.

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