Plantain, Hoary

Plantain

This winter annual, native to central and western Europe, has been introduced into the United States. It grows in damp grassy meadows, but has become a weed of lawns, pastures and landscapes. The dense, finely-haired, elliptic leaves form a basal rosette close to the ground. The leaves are slightly-toothed on the margins. The delicate pink-white flowers are borne between May and September on slender stalks reaching from 1 1/2″ to 7″ tall. Hoary Plantain is similar in appearance to Buckhorn Plantain, a common lawn weed. However, Buckhorn Plantain is not a winter annual and the leaf margins are not toothed. Hoary Plantain is edible and has a reputation for medicinal effects as an astringent for treating wounds. The seeds are used as a laxative.

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