Plantain is a perennial plant. There are two common species of plantain—the broadleaf plantain and the buckthorn plantain.
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, form in 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 capsule grow in rows along the spike.
- Blooms late spring to fall.
- Reproduces by seeds; from roots when plant is stressed.
- Prefers rich, moist soils that are compacted and dense.
Root System: Plantain has a fibrous root system reaching to 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.
- Dig up plant root and all using a forked dandelion weeder.
- Remove all of root; the plant can regrow from pieces of fibrous rootstock left behind.
- Do not let plantains flowers and drop seed.
Range: Throughout the United State and southern Canada.
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.