Plantain is a perennial plant, usually a weed. There are two common species of plantain—the broadleaf plantain and the buckthorn plantain. Plantain has thick, egg-shaped, wavy-edged leaves that grow from a ground-hugging rosette.
Plantain weed thrives in rich, moist, compacted soil. Plantain grows from seed and from resprouting roots. The leaves are so wide and thick that they can easily overrun and even suffocate surrounding plants.
Plantain weed description and lifecycle
- Broadleaf plantain has 4- to 6-inch long leaves.
- Buckthorn plantain has dull green leaves to 9 inches long, 1½ inches wide, forming in a basal rosette.
- Leaves can be spreading or erect with 3 to 5 prominent veins
- Flower stalks grow from 8 inches to 2½ feet tall; they are erect and leafless,
- Cylindrical flower spires; flowers tiny and numerous
- Seed capsules grow in rows along the spike.
- Blooms late spring to fall.
- Reproduces by seeds; from roots when the plant is stressed.
- Prefers rich, moist soils that are compacted and dense.
Plantain weed root system
- Plantain has a fibrous root system reaching a depth of about 18 inches. The root system is fairly weak.
- Buds grow from the uppermost part of the root to create the plant crown.
- The crown can re-generate new plants even when cut below the soil surface.
Plantain weed organic control
- Dig up plant roots and all using a forked dandelion weeder.
- Remove all of the roots; the plant can regrow from pieces of fibrous rootstock left behind.
- Do not let plantains flower and drop seed.
Plantain range: Throughout the United State and southern Canada.
Plantain botanical name: Plantago major (broadleaf plantain); Plantago lanceolate (buckthorn plantain)
Four Quick Ways to Control Weeds:
- Weed early. Control weeds in the first month after they germinate.
- Weed often. Hand weed every two weeks through the season.
- Weed by hand when the soil is wet (best to get roots).
- Use a hoe if the soil is dry. Decapitate weeds before they flower and drop seed.