Plantago major

Plantago major L.

Common Names: Greater Plantain, Common Plantain, Way Bread, Broadleaf Plantain

Family: Plantaginaceae

Habit: Plantago major grows as a glabrous perennial herb up to 50 cm in height when in flower. The leaves are arranged alternately in a basal rosette, up to 30 cm in length and 10 cm wide, elliptic/ovate/oval with an undulate to sinuate leaf margin, cuneate leaf base and an acute leaf apex. There are 3-7 distinct veins.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in a terminal spike with each flower subtended by a bract.  The calyx has 4 green, unfused, reflexed sepals. The corolla has 4 fused at the base, green petals with the lobes reflexed. There are 4 stamens that are longer than the carpel and often white to purplish. The ovary is superior with 1 locule and numerous ovules.  The fruit is a capsule.

Habitat: Plantago major grows in Human Altered environments (yards, fields, disturbed areas, abandoned fields).

Distribution: Plantago major is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but has been observed in the central and southern island groupings.  It is native to Europe and central Asia but has become naturalized globally.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Plantago major is not known to be used medicinally in the Bahamas.

The young leaves are edible and crushed boiled leaves have been used elsewhere in poultices for stings and general sores.