Plantago coronopus

Botanical Name : Plantago coronopus
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
Species: P. coronopus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name : Minutina, Erba stella, Buck’s horn plantain

Habitat :Plantago coronopus is native to Eurasia and North Africa but it can be found elsewhere, including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand as an introduced species.It grows in sandy or gravelly soils and cracks in rocks, in sunny places in dry soils usually near the sea.

Description:
Plantago coronopus  is an annual or biennial herb producing a basal rosette of narrowly lance-shaped leaves up to 25 centimeters long. The leaves are edged with small lance-shaped lobes. The inflorescences grow erect to about half a meter in maximum height. They have dense spikes of flowers which sometimes curve.It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is self-fertile. Each flower has four whitish lobes each measuring about a millimeter long.

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It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender.  It is noted for attracting wildlife.

This plant is suitable for   light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

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Edible Uses:
Young leaves – raw or cooked. High yielding. One of the nicer tasting members of this genus, the leaves are fairly tender and have a slight bitterness. Some people blanch the leaves in boiling water for a few seconds before using them in salads in order to make them more tender. This leaf is one of the ingredients of ‘misticanze’, a salad mixture of wild and cultivated leaves that originated in the Marche region of Italy.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. A polymorphic species. This plant has sometimes been cultivated for its edible leaves. An important food plant for many caterpillars.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiperiodic;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic.

The leaves are antiperiodic and ophthalmic. They are used as a remedy for ague and sore eyes. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantago_coronopus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Plantago+coronopus

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