Broadleaf Plantain, Plantago major


Common Plantain, also known as Broad Leafed or Greater Plantain, is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family. The plant is native to most of Europe, but has widely naturalised elsewhere in the world. It is unrelated to the fruit also known as plantain, which is a species of banana. Considered a very common garden weed, it grows on lawns and fields, along roadsides, gardens, and in other areas that have been disturbed by humans. It does particularly well in compacted or disturbed soils, and it is believed to be one of the first plants to reach North America after European colonisation, so much so, that it was known among some Native American peoples by the common name "White Man's Footprint", because it thrived in the disturbed ecosystems surrounding European settlements. The whole plant is edible, with the young, tender leaves eaten raw, and the older, stringier, leaves boiled in stews, much like spinach. The young buds can also be cooked and eaten, tasting a little like asparagus. In Autumn, it's seeds can also be used as a cous-cous style substitute.

Broadleaf Plantain Checklist


🌳 Deciduous Woodland.
🌲 Coniferous Woodland.
🐑 Grassland, including paddocks, fields and meadows.
🌊 Waterways, including rivers, lakes and streams.
🏡 Urban Green Spaces, including scrubland, parks and gardens.
🏢 Urban Environments, wasteland, Streets and pavements.
🚜 Hedgerows, including field edges.


Jan - Dec


☘️ Broad slightly hairy and oval shaped, growing in a rosette. The unbranching viens are very distinctive, and run parallel from the bottom of the leaf to the top.


🌷 Tiny, green to yellow/white flowers grow from a tall thin flower spike.


🌱 There is no defined stem. The flower stem grows from the centre of the plant.

Fruit / Seeds

🍏 After flowering small black berries form on the stems which resemble blackcurrants.

Edible Parts

☘️ Leaves
🍏 Seeds

Aroma / Taste

👃 Indistinct Aroma
👅 The young leaves and seeds are quite bitter and are better tasting when cooked.

ID Notes

🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 The broad oval leaves and the distinctive vein pattern are the key identifiers of this plant.


🥗 Salad - Can be eaten raw and added to salads, but may be too bitter.
🥬 Green - Can be cooked as a leaf vegetable.
💊 Herbal Remedy - Is often used medicinally.