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Botanical Name : Plantago lanceolata
Species: P. lanceolata
Common Names : Ribwort plantain, English plantain, Buckhorn plantain, Narrowleaf plantain, Ribleaf and lamb’s tongue.
Habitat : Plantago lanceolata is native to Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, northern and central Asia.It grows in Grassland, roadsides etc, a common weed of lawns and cultivated ground, on neutral and basic soils.
Plantago lanceolata is a rosette-forming perennial herb,growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in), with leafless, silky, hairy flower stems (10–40 cm/3.9–16 in). The basal leaves are lanceolate spreading or erect, scarcely toothed with 3-5 strong parallel veins narrowed to short petiole. Grouping leaf stalk deeply furrowed, ending in an oblong inflorescence of many small flowers each with a pointed bract.It is in flower from Apr to August, and the seeds ripen from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind, flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile. Each flower can produce up to two seeds. Flowers 4 mm (calyx green, corolla brownish), 4 bent back lobes with brown midribs, long white stamens. Found in British Isles, scarce on acidic soils (pH < 4.5). It is considered an invasive weed in North America. It is present and widespread in the Americas and Australia as an introduced species.
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is noted for attracting wildlife. bUT IT IS onsidered to be an indicator of agriculture in pollen diagrams, P. lanceolata has been found in western Norway from the Early Neolithic onwards. Something that is considered to be an indicator of grazing in that area.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Cultivation:Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants also succeed in very poor land. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies.
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.
Young leaves – raw or cooked. They are rather bitter and very tedious to prepare, the fibrous strands are best removed prior to eating. The very young leaves are somewhat better and are less fibrous. Seed – cooked. Used like sago. The seed can be ground into a powder and added to flours when making bread, cakes or whatever.
Ribwort plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly staunches blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue. The leaves contain mucilage, tannin and silic acid. An extract of them has antibacterial properties. They have a bitter flavour and are astringent, demulcent, mildly expectorant, haemostatic and ophthalmic. Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever. They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc. The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc. The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes, it is used in equal portions with Marrubium vulgare. The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms. 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. A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion.
P. lanceolata is used frequently in tisanes and other herbal remedies. A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine
Other Uses : Dye; Fibre; Starch.
A good fibre is obtained from the leaves, it is said to be suitable for textiles. A mucilage from the seed coats is used as a fabric stiffener. It is obtained by macerating the seed in hot water. Gold and brown dyes are obtained from the whole plant.
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