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Herbaceous Perennial

Plantago lanceolata

ribwort plantain

A low-growing herbaceous perennial with a long tap root and rosettes of ribbed green leaves, which are flatter and more rounded in short turf, but longer and more upright in meadows and grasslands. Produces leafless spikes to 8cm high of small, tightly clustered brown flowers with creamy white anthers, throughout the summer.

Other common names
black Jack
buckhorn
see morecat's cradle
chimney-sweeps
cock grass
cocks
dog's ribs
English plantain
headsman
hen plant
jack straws
kemps seed
klops
knock-heads
lamb's tail
leechwort
narrow-leaved plantain
ram's tongue
rat tail
ribgrass
ribwort
ripple grass
windles
Synonyms
Plantago azorica
Plantago lanceolata var. azorica
see morePlantago timbali
Plantago lanceolata var. timbali
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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1 year
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Brown Cream Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Plantaginaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Semi evergreen
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

A genus of 200 species of flowering plants, mainly herbaceous but with a small number of subshrubs, and often classed as a weed. Broad or narrow foliage with long stalks of inconspicuous flowers that are wind-pollinated

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Prefers well-drained soil and open, sunny positions but grows well in all but the most acidic soil. Sometimes considered a weed in gardens, although the seeds can provide winter food for songbirds so it is sometimes used in wildflower planting

Propagation

Propagates by seed, wind pollinated

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Wildlife gardens
Pruning

Remove before flowering to prevent spread

Pests

May be susceptible to leaf beetles, weevils and caterpillars

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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