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.


FEATHER-HEADS (Ptilotus macrocephalous)

Ptilotus macrocephalus (Feather-heads) – Amaranthaceae

I found this lovely and rather interesting grass, Feather-heads (Ptilotus macrocephalous) in a landscaped bed in the Royal Botanic Garden (RBG) on my regular walks when I lived on the inner south-east side of Melbourne pre-April 2015.

This bed was filled with many different types of grass with various heights, seed heads and interesting planting patterns.

The grass bed below is the particular one I’m talking about.

The bed looks rather overgrown in the 2012 image above, but it is worth a look close-up if you’re visiting the RBG in Melbourne (ehrrr…..assuming it’s still there  😀  ).   The bed gets full sun and I imagine the soil rather dry in Melbourne’s hot summer (like today which is very hot at 38C).

Feather-heads are a perennial with woody rootstock and widespread on dry sites in western Victorian grasslands but becoming increasingly rare.

Few seeds develop during a wet spring as the upright flower collects water and the pollen is destroyed, so I might suggest the last 3 years of flooding rains in Victoria (and the east coast of Australia in general) might have wiped this grass out in the wild?  Just a guess.   The long-range weather forecast said the next 3 years are going to be exessivly dry and hot in Australia.

FEATHER-HEADS (Ptilotus macrocephalus)

It’s native to Australia and classified as a herb.  The showy ‘bottlebrush-like’ flowers are up to 12cm long and 7cm wide, held at the ends of stems up to 80cm tall.

Just another of the grasses filed in a folder in my photo library that actually is identified – most are not.

PURPLE FOUNTAIN GRASS (Cenchrus setaceus)

Purple Fountain grass (Cenchrus setaceus) is my all-time favourite grass and I’ve photographed it many times, especially in the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne.

Up until I photographed a tiny patch of Windmill Grass, mentioned in the previous post, it used to be the most interesting among my Grass images.

There was one patch in the highest point in the south-west corner of the RBG (Royal Botanic Gardens) that I used to visit at the end of an afternoon’s walk which changed colour and lit up in the golden hour.

Occasionally, it can be seen in residential gardens, but only where owners have the space or are particularly fond of its beautiful colour and shape.


WINDMILL GRASS (Chloris truncata)

There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.

Thomas Jefferson

I find grasses much more interesting than flowers (most of the time) and the most interesting one I’ve come across (so far) is Windmill Grass (Chloris truncata).

It is a native species which is frequent in grassland and open, dry, forest country from South Australia through to Queensland.

The one and only photo I’ve got was a wee bit too busy for my liking, but when I went back a week later to try and get a better shot, the grass was gone.  Mown down by Les the Grasscutter with his old tractor and flail.

I’ve never seen it again in that area next to the path or any other location for that matter.

WINDMILL GRASS (Chloris truncate) – 22nd JANUARY 2018