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common plantain, great plantain, nippleseed, plantain majeur

Habit Perennials, sometimes annuals; caudex absent; roots fibrous, thick.

0–20 mm.


20–150(–400) × 10–120(–170) mm;

petiole to 200 mm;

blade ovate to cordate-ovate, margins entire or toothed, veins conspicuous, surfaces glabrous or hirsute.


50–250(–500) mm, surpassing leaves or not, glabrous or hirsute.


brownish or greenish, (20–)50–300(–400) mm, densely flowered;

bracts lanceolate, 0.5–1 mm, length 0.3–0.7 times sepals.


sepals 1.5–2 mm;

corolla radially symmetric, lobes reflexed, 0.5–1 mm, base obtuse;

stamens 4.


(2–)4–5 mm, dehiscing at middle.


5–35, 0.5–1 mm.


= 12.

Plantago major

Phenology Flowering summer.
Habitat Roadsides, trails, stream banks, urban areas, lawns, other disturbed areas.
Elevation 0–3000 m. (0–9800 ft.)
from FNA
AK; AL; AR; AZ; CA; CO; CT; DC; DE; FL; GA; IA; ID; IL; IN; KS; KY; LA; MA; MD; ME; MI; MN; MO; MS; MT; NC; ND; NE; NH; NJ; NM; NV; NY; OH; OK; OR; PA; RI; SC; SD; TN; TX; UT; VA; VT; WA; WI; WV; WY; AB; BC; MB; NB; NL; NS; NT; ON; PE; QC; SK; YT; SPM; Greenland; Eurasia [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia]
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Subspecies intermedia (Gilibert) Lange is often accepted by European botanists as a separate species, Plantago uliginosa F. W. Schmidt. Observations suggest that plants referable to this taxon may occur in the United States; it has been reported from the New England states (A. Haines 2011). Subspecies intermedia is distinguished by more abundant (11–35) and smaller (0.8–1 mm) seeds, ascending spikes, ovoid fruits, and elliptic or lanceolate leaf blades. Without detailed morphologic and genetic investigations of North American plants similar to the study of European plants by M. Morgan-Richards and K. Wolff (1999), it is not possible to draw any conclusions about the status and distribution of this or any other possible infraspecific taxa of P. major in North America.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 17, p. 289.
Parent taxa Plantaginaceae > Plantago
Sibling taxa
P. afra, P. argyrea, P. aristata, P. australis, P. canescens, P. cordata, P. coronopus, P. elongata, P. erecta, P. eriopoda, P. firma, P. floccosa, P. helleri, P. heterophylla, P. hookeriana, P. indica, P. lanceolata, P. macrocarpa, P. maritima, P. media, P. ovata, P. patagonica, P. pusilla, P. rhodosperma, P. rugelii, P. sempervirens, P. sparsiflora, P. subnuda, P. tweedyi, P. virginica, P. wrightiana
Synonyms P. major var. pachyphylla, P. major var. pilgeri, P. major var. scopulorum
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 112. (1753)
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