Botanical Name: Plantago lanceolata
Common Names: English plantain, narrow leaf plantain, ribwort plantain, ribleaf, lamb's tongue, jack straw
If you are outside and look down there is a good chance you will see this plant as it grows everywhere.
This is a perennial plant that can be both spreading or erect.It forms a basal rosette,with a persistent taproot and can grow to a height of 50cm tall and around 20cm wide.
The leaves are lanceolate in shape (hence the name) and can grow between 10cm-20cm long and 1cm to 3cm wide. It has very distinguishable parallel veins (3-7) that run the length of the leaf.
The plantain produces a wiry stem from the centre of the rosette, this can be around 5cm-40cm in size. On top of this stem sits a spike of flowers around 1cm-7cm in length and are white to cream in colour.
The leaves and seeds can be eaten.
The leaves can be eaten raw in salads but can be a little bitter, as the leaves grow the veins become more prominent making the larger leaves almost unpalatable unless they are removed. The leaves can also be cooked and added into soups etc.
The seeds can be cooked and used like sago. If you have the patience to can even gather the seeds, grind them down and add them flour.
Plantain has been used to treat: coughs, insect bites, infections, constipation, conjunctivitis, digestive issues, thrush, cystitis, sores and ulcers.