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What it lacks in attractiveness, plantain makes up for in versatility. The indestructible rosette plant scores with valuable ingredients and edible, young leaves. Anyone who fights the plant as a weed only half-heartedly is usually in a lost position. This profile gives you a closer look at the robust Plantago major.

For some a weed, for others an edible wild plant

System and appearance at a glance

It is revered as an effective medicinal plant as often as it is hated as a weed. Opinions are divided on broadleaf plantain. The following profile conveys outstanding attributes of the two-faced plant.

  • Genus within the order of the mint-like (Lamiales)
  • Name of the species: plantain (Plantago major)
  • Herbaceous, perennial plant with a basal rosette of leaves
  • Palm-sized, spoon-shaped leaves
  • Growth heights from 3 to 25 cm
  • Strong taproots up to 80 cm deep
  • Long, narrow, yellowish-white flower spikes from April/May to September/October
  • Brown fruit capsules with up to 50 seeds

The outstanding feature is its robust resistance to all kinds of stress. The broad plantain is one of the hard-wearing indicator plants for frequently walked paths and lawns.

Traditional medicinal and useful plant - that's what broad plantain contains

The sap of plantain contains valuable ingredients that have been used in folk medicine for generations. Consumed regularly as a tea, the plant supports smoking cessation, relieves toothaches, headaches or earaches. For this purpose, 2 tablespoons of the fresh leaves are brewed with half a liter of water and left to steep for a few minutes.

Plantago major is not only edible, but also rich in vitamins and minerals. The tender leaves in spring round off a fresh salad aromatically. The older foliage in summer is prepared into a very healthy vegetable - similar to sauerkraut. Traditionally, broadleaf plantain is an ingredient in Maundy Thursday soup, which is prepared exclusively from weeds.


Experienced hikers know plantain as a practical first-aid plant. In the case of painful wasp stings, the plant immediately brings relief by chewing the leaves or grinding them with a stone and placing them on the sting site. If the hiking boots pinch, plantain leaves are placed on the painful area and the rest of the way is effortlessly mastered.

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