Plantago lanceolata

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Ribwort Plantain
Ribwort 600.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
Species: P. lanceolata
Binomial name
Plantago lanceolata

Plantago lanceolata is a species of genus Plantago known by the common names English plantain, narrowleaf plantain, ribwort plantain,[1] ribleaf, buckhorn plantain, buckhorn, and lamb's tongue. It is a common weed of cultivated land.

The plant is a rosette-forming perennial herb, with leafless, silky, hairy flower stems (10–40 cm or 3.9–15.7 in). The basal leaves are lanceolate spreading or erect, scarcely toothed with 3-5 strong parallel veins narrowed to short petiole. Grouping leaf stalk deeply furrowed, ending in an ovoid inflorescence of many small flowers each with a pointed bract. Each flower can produce up to two seeds. Flowers 4 mm (calyx green, corolla brownish), 4 bent back lobes with brown midribs, long white stamens. Found in British Isles, scarce on acidic soils (pH < 4.5). It is considered an invasive weed in North America. It is present and widespread in the Americas and Australia as an introduced species.


Plantago lanceolata (Japan)
An inflorescence that has set seeds.

Considered to be an indicator of agriculture in pollen diagrams, P. lanceolata has been found in western Norway from the Early Neolithic onwards, something considered an indicator of grazing in that area.[2]


P. lanceolata is used frequently in herbal teas and other herbal remedies.[3] A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine. In the traditional Austrian medicine Plantago lanceolata leaves have been used internally (as syrup or tea) or externally (fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, insect bites, and infections.[4]


P. lanceolata contains phenylethanoids such as acteoside (verbascoside), cistanoside F, lavandulifolioside, plantamajoside and isoacteoside.[5] It also contains the iridoid glycosides aucubin and catalpol.[6]


  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ Hjelle, K. L.; Hufthammer, A. K.; Bergsvik, K. A. (2006). "Hesitant hunters: a review of the introduction of agriculture in western Norway". Environmental Archaeology 11 (2): 147–170. doi:10.1179/174963106x123188. 
  3. ^ Val plantes herbal ice tea
  4. ^ Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, et al. (October 2013). "Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine--an unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 149 (3): 750–71. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. PMC 3791396. PMID 23770053. 
  5. ^ Phenylethanoids in the Herb of Plantago lanceolata and Inhibitory Effect on Arachidonic Acid-Induced Mouse Ear Edema. Michiko Murai (nee Sasahara), Yasuhiko Tamayama and Sansei Nishibe, Planta Med., 1995;, volume 61, issue 5, pages 479-480, doi:10.1055/s-2006-958143
  6. ^ Genetic variation in defensive chemistry in Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae) and its effect on the specialist herbivore Junonia coenia (Nymphalidae). Lynn S. Adler, Johanna Schmitt and M. Deane Bowers, Oecologia, January 1995, Volume 101, Issue 1, pages 75-85, doi:10.1007/BF00328903

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