An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

BUCKHORN PLANTAIN, ribwort, narrowleaf plantain


PLANTAIN FAMILY-Plantaginaceae

BUCKHORN PLANTAIN-Plantago lanceolata L.

DESCRIPTION-A low erect perennial, 1 to 1 1/2 feet high, with narrow dark green leaves, from a thick fibrous root system, which reproduces by seeds, and sometimes by new shoots from the roots. The leaves are 3 to 12 inches long (including the stalk), 1/4 to 1 inch broad with smooth, wavy, or barely toothed margins. They are strongly 3 to 5 ribbed, oblong or lanceshaped, tapering at the base into a slender stalk. The leaf axils are often filled with long brownish cottony hairs.

The flowers are similar to those of broadleaf plantain, but occur in short thick spikes 3/4 to 2 inches long at the tip of the flower stalks, which are much longer than the leaves. (In plantain the flower stalks are rarely longer than the leaves.) The seedpods are globeshaped, dry and papery, about 1/8 inch long, contain 2 seeds, and open by the upper half falling off as a lid. The seeds are 1/16 to 1/12 inch or slightly more long, boatshaped, the surface usually shiny, and greenish brown to dark brown.

DISTRIBUTION-Buckhorn plantain, a European introduction, is primarily a pest throughout most of Arizona. It also grows in moist soil of fields, dooryards, waste places, irrigated pastures, gardens, and along streams; 100 to 8,000 feet elevation. More troublesome in southern Arizona irrigated fields than broadleaf plantain, it is an annoying pest in alfalfa, small grains, lawns, pastures, roadsides, and waste places; flowering from April to October.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents

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