Plant ID forum: Plantain (Plantago major)

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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 24, 2015 3:18 PM CST
So the large basal leaves of this have been left alone so I could see what came of them. They have sent up flower spikes; the flowers themselves are mighty tiny though. I wonder if this has value to pollinators or other beneficials though. I quite like it! It's growing amid lots of other stuff so I hope the pictures are clear enough. If not, I'll try to get a better one tomorrow.

Thumb of 2015-06-24/kylaluaz/f87d7f

Thumb of 2015-06-24/kylaluaz/8752c1

Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Jun 24, 2015 3:37 PM CST

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Plantain (Plantago major) or one of the many similar species in the genus.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

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frankrichards16
Jun 24, 2015 3:44 PM CST
I agree yes, looks like Plantago major
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 24, 2015 4:50 PM CST
Yes, thank you! I knew I should recognize it but I believe I have only actually seen the narrow-leaf variety growing, and this is broadleaf.

Cool!
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Jun 24, 2015 5:05 PM CST
It looks like some of the plantains we have here, except the leaves are different.
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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 24, 2015 5:26 PM CST
I just read @Sharon 's "Let Them Grow" piece about plantain. I had known from earlier studies that it was a medicinal, but didn't recall much about its uses. I am feeling pretty blessed to have such a nice healthy patch of it growing there. And like I said, to me it's lovely. Probably partly because it's really healthy and also it is growing among a variety of plants with different shapes and colors so it is in no way unappealing where it is. I am definitely going to try using the leaves to relieve mosquito bites! Hilarious!
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Jun 24, 2015 5:41 PM CST
Thanks for this info. I have a smaller version of it that has been proliferating in my front yard and I have been pulling the spikes out as soon as they appear, as it spreads so rapidly. I didn't realize the plant was beneficial in any way, so that's good to know.
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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 24, 2015 5:57 PM CST
Yes, no doubt I will probably have to let only *some* grow and monitor how it spreads. Right now it's just a nice little patch. This to me is one of the main ongoing challenges of gardening, how the various plant communities relate to each other and how much control of that should I attempt to assume? Always an open question!
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Jun 24, 2015 6:00 PM CST
I have tried letting invasives go up against each other in the hope that they will balance each other out, but sometimes I discover a 'winner' that I didn't really want. Sticking tongue out

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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 24, 2015 7:18 PM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious! The risks we take. Green Grin!

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bamira
Jun 24, 2015 7:18 PM CST
the Czech name is - jitrocel - fast skin over, heal the wound I tip my hat to you.
most acts Plantago lanceolata
injured skin- burned, scald, herpes ...
apply lightly wrinkled sheet , permeability bandages
[Last edited by bamira - Jun 24, 2015 7:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 24, 2015 7:23 PM CST
Thanks, Stefan! Very interesting.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Jun 24, 2015 7:29 PM CST
I agree
Definitely has me rethinking this weed
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 24, 2015 7:34 PM CST
That lanceolata is the one I am used to seeing most often. This one I have is a new kind to me, and it looks like the leaves could be used as a poultice most easily.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
Jun 24, 2015 9:43 PM CST
Plantago spp. are also a host plant for the Common Buckeye butterfly so if you're seeing them flying around, maybe let a little patch of the Plantago grow. Or check for caterpillars as they may already be there!
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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jun 25, 2015 3:33 AM CST
Oh, Mellie, thanks so much! I do hope so. So far this year few butterflies to be seen here, mostly cabbage whites. One or two others, fleetingly. :(

And my intention is to let some of this grow, most definitely. As much as I can, really. It's in a good place where it isn't too likely to crowd out anything much else anyway.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Jun 25, 2015 4:27 AM CST
that's good to know, Mellie! The Buckeye is one I haven't seen in my yard yet.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
Jun 25, 2015 4:30 AM CST
Kyla, I always say if you have a little patch you can allow to get weedy, it can be one of the best butterfly attractors. Often, those "weeds" are favored nectar pants or, if you're lucky, host plants. For example, most people in Florida hate Spanish Needles (Bidens alba) but they are one of the best nectar plants, bar none. And they host the caterpillars of the Dainty Sulphur which is a little yellow butterfly. I'm lucky I live on a cul-de-sac and we have the lot on the corner of the main road. So we can let the ditch and the area by the road get a little weedy now and then and it really ups my butterfly population. Also, big kudos to you for being the kind of person who can find beauty in a "weed"! Not everyone can view the world that way. Thumbs up
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Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Jun 25, 2015 4:33 AM CST
I agree My front lawn is an experimentation in weeds at this point. Whistling Hilarious! In my back yard, I've been letting large sections of the grass grow out meadow-like.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
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mellielong
Jun 25, 2015 4:49 AM CST
The neighbor behind me has almost ten acres and I love to go exploring back there. But he died last year and his granddaughter and her boyfriend living there now are less than friendly. I can't wait until the property sells and hopefully we get some nice people to move in. Also, when my Grandma knows I'm coming to WV to visit, she won't have her guy mow the yard for a few weeks. She tends to get a lot of Clover which is a host plant for the Clouded Sulphur but also attracts more butterflies to its blooms than you would think! I have such fun running around trying to photograph them all and I think Grandma just likes to see me happy. Lovey dubby
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