An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

BROADLEAF PLANTAIN, common plantain, rippleseed plantain

Illustration

PLANTAIN FAMILY-Plantaginaceae

BROADLEAF PLANTAIN-Plantago major L.

DESCRIPTION-Low tufted perennial from a thick fibrous root system which reproduces by seeds and sometimes by new shoots from the roots. There are no true stems above the ground; those bearing the flower spikes are flower stalks. The large dark green hairless leaves are all at the base of the plant. The leaves are broadly eggshaped or oval, 3 to 8 inches long, on stalks 2 to 5 inches long and 2 to 4 inches broad, prominently 5- to 7-ribbed, with smooth or usually wavy to toothed margins.

The numerous whitish or colorless flowers are small, 4-lobed, thin, dry, and persistent. They are crowded along a narrow elongated spike, 3 to 12 inches long and 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick, on the upper part of the slender leafless flower stalk. The seedpods, similar to those of buckhorn plantain, contain 6 to 20 reddish brown seeds. The seeds are 1/25 to 1/16 inch long, and somewhat angled. The surface is granular, with fine radiating lines.

DISTRIBUTION-Broadleaf plantain is a naturalized weed from Europe, and primarily a pest in lawns throughout most of Arizona. It also grows in the moist soil of fields, dooryards, waste places, irrigated pastures, gardens, and along streams; 100 to 8,000 feet elevation; flowering March to October. Its tufted growth habit, large coarse leaves, and long flowering spikes are unsightly in lawns, and thus it is a particularly objectionable weed.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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