What Does Broadleaf Plantain Look Like?

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably take great pride in caring for your lawn and garden. But what do you do when you encounter an unfamiliar weed? How can you be sure it’s not something harmful to your plants?

Today, we’ll take a look at one weed that is commonly found in lawns and gardens and often causes confusion: broadleaf plantain. Broadleaf plantain often grows in dense patches and can be difficult to remove. Keep reading to learn more about it and how to get rid of this pesky weed!

So, what does broadleaf plantain look like? Let’s dig in and find out!

What is Broadleaf Plantain?

With the scientific moniker Plantago Major, Broadleaf Plantain is also called White Man’s Foot and Greater Plantain. It is a perennial plant that originated in Europe and Asia, but has naturalized in many other nations throughout the world, including the United States. In fact, it was one of the first plants to be brought to North America by European explorers.

Although its name may suggest otherwise, broadleaf plantain is not in any way related to the fruits plantains or bananas. This weed does not produce any fruit in conjunction with it.

While not harmful to people, and in fact is frequently used in salads as well as herbal medicines, it can rapidly take over your garden if left unchecked. As a result, it’s crucial to understand how and where this weed develops so you can detect it and get rid of Broadleaf Plantain from your lawn.

Where Does Broadleaf Plantain Grow?

Once you understand how broadleaf plantain grows, controlling it is a breeze! It’s an herbaceous perennial weed that can grow up to 28 inches tall and may be found growing up to 5-6 inches tall.

This widespread weed spreads via the method of both seed spread and division of its roots. Its root is incredibly durable, which allows it to thrive on compacted or disturbed soil, as well as endure frequent trampling. As a result, broadleaf plantain can keep ground soil in place to prevent soil erosion and is frequently employed to aid restore dirt that has been neglected.

The broadleaf plantain is a perennial herb that grows low to ground level and forms larger, denser clusters from small clusters. It may be found nearly everywhere weeds flourish, such as fields, lawns, road verges, and pedestrian walkways.

How to Identify Broadleaf Plantain

Now that we’ve answered where Broadleaf Plantain grows and what it is, let’s talk about how to identify this weed.

Visual Characteristics 

The plant has broad, oval-shaped leaves that are wrinkled and wavy in appearance. The leaves can be up to 8 inches long and form a circular development pattern of up to 12 inches diameter. There are five to nine prominent veins down the length of the leaf. It has a substantial, fleshy taproot and is frequently accompanied by smaller side roots.

Long, thin, cylindrical stems sprout from the leaves. These stems can be up to 6 inches long and are adorned with a cluster flowers along their length. The flowers, which are small and greenish-brown with purple stamens, grow in a dense spike 5 – 15 centimeters (or 2 – 6 inches) long.

Growth Stages

There are no major differences in the visual appearance in different growth stages throughout the life of the Broadleaf Plantain.

Other Unique Traits

Plantain leaves are edible raw as a salad green when young and delicate, but they quickly develop fibrous and tough. The older leaves may be prepared in stews. Plantain leaves contain calcium and other minerals, as well as beta-carotene, which is present in comparable amounts to a carrot. The seeds can be ground in to a flour, but it often takes a long time to gather them because they are so small.

Plants That Look Like Broadleaf Plantain

Due to their similarly large leaves and rising petal stems, Broadleaf Plantain is often confused with Dock Weeds like Broadleaf Dock and Yellow Dock. All of these weeds have large, flat leaves that can look the same from a distance. However, dock weeds are longer and more oblong, and their flowers are also often a different color, such as red. Plantain leaves, on the other hand, are closer to a perfect circle.

Broadleaf plantain is often confused with another common weed, buckhorn plantain. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their leaves: buckhorn plantain leaves are more narrow and pointed, while broadleaf plantain leaves are wider and more oval-shaped.

How to Get Rid of Broadleaf Plantain

There are a variety of methods to get rid of Broadleaf Plantain, both chemically and organically.

The weed will be easily killed by any weed killer that contains glyphosate or glufosinate. Mow down long grasses and big weeds in your yard before treating the plantain. Herbicides will be able to reach the broadleaf plantain more effectively as a result.

Regarding organic removal methods, Broadleaf Plantain has a large leaf and root structure that makes it difficult to pull out by the roots. Some people like to utilize weed-puller equipment (similar to a shovel) to pry out the root below the surface. This must be done with care! Attempting to yank or pull too hard may break off the plant’s deep taproot, making this method ineffective.

If you prefer another organic choice, combine 1 cup vinegar and one drop of non-toxic dish soap in a gallon of water to make a broadleaf plantain killer. Spray the weed with this mixture, which has just one drop of non-toxic dish soap in it.

To Sum Up

Broadleaf plantain is a weed that can be found in many parts of the world. It is an invasive weed with broad leaves and grows very quickly. It can be difficult to get rid of, but there are several methods that can be used.

The first thing to do in any situation is to know for sure that your lawn has Broadleaf Plantain in it, and not some other weed, and this is why you need to learn how to identify it and which visual traits make it unique.

We hope this post has helped you learn a little more about broadleaf plantain, including its growing patterns, and weeds that look similar to it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. And be sure to check out our other posts on weeds and gardening!