RIBWORT PLANTAIN (Plantago lanceolata)

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

Doug Larson

…..and the last grass I’ll be sharing this week is Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata).   I just double-checked its name and it seems to have quite a few.

I know it as Ribwort.  I’ve photographed it many times, but the image I like best is the one below as it has a more interesting background than my other photos.

Besides, it is the only one in my GRASS – Ribwort folder 😀 ), so with our current heatwave here in Melbourne making me rather lethargic toward wading through my Photo Library to find some other photos, this image will do.

RIBWORT or RIBGRASS (Plantago lanceolata L.)

Very closely related to Plantago Major, it’s very tolerant and can adapt to extreme condition. This plant can actually live anywhere from very dry meadows to places similar to a rain forest, roadsides, open woodlands and grasslands.

When I was studying Herbal Medicine in the early 1990s, I vaguely remember it being noted for its blood-staunching properties.   I was reading a great website this afternoon and copied the information straight across to this post in case you’d like to know a bit more.




Same as his relative Common Plantain, Ribwort Plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly staunches blood flow and, as an antimicrobial, encourages the repair of damaged tissue to promote faster healing.

The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds or skin inflammations, and as an external antihistamine against  animal stings or bites.

The entire plant is astringent, demulcent and ophthalmicA distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion. The leaves find also use as a nutritious tea rich of vitamins, minerals, mucilage and tannins.

Yet an other great wild medicinal plant and edible vegetable. For survivalists and woodsman this is a plant you must know because it can help heal wounds, prevent infection and the seeds can serve as a starchy food source.



Ribwort Plantain is a very nutritional leafy vegetable containing Calcium, and vitamins A,C, and K. Its young leaves are eaten raw, but larger leaves get tough and are much better cooked. Leaves have a slightly bitter flavour, which makes them more suitable to add to soups or salad, rather than consumed by themselves. Roots and seeds are also edible, usually cooked, same as the flower buds that work well for making a mushroom kind of taste stock.



5 thoughts on “RIBWORT PLANTAIN (Plantago lanceolata)

  1. We have this one, too, but its common name is English Plantain, or Narrow-leaved plantain. It’s found throughout the U.S., but as an introduced species, which probably accounts for the ‘English’ in its common name. It is a pretty plant; it’s fun to watch its bloom progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wondered who introduced the plant to the U.S. – early settlers or in more modern times?
      As children, we used to wrap the stem around the head/flower and pull it like a peashooter. It was great fun. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found this tidbit in a scientific journal: “Ribwort plantain was accidentally introduced into North America, probably shortly after the arrival of the first European settlers (Mack, 2003). In 1993 Michael Singer and colleagues reported that the native butterfly, the Edith’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha), seemingly developed a preference for weedy ribwort plantain as its new primary host at Schneider’s Meadow in Nevada.” Makes sense!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for sharing that (and looking it up online too), Linda.

        We have so many introduced species to many countries around the world today, I guess many websites are already outdated (that I’ve looked up in recent years).

        Interesting that the butterfly you mentioned has changed its diet too. Survival of any species (including man) depends on adaptation to the changing climate and food sources in recent times.

        As the food prices rise in Australian since COVID began, I sometimes wish I had knowledge and access to ‘bush’ food that sustained our Australian Aborigines for thousands of years. Some of my favourite food brands have, literally, doubled in price since COVID began, with severe flooding and bushfires wiping out many crops and livestock increasing prices further.


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