Ribwort Plantain

Plantago lanceolata L.

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General Description

Perennial plant with an upright habit of the Plantaginaceae family.

The leaves are located at the base of the plants and form a rosette. The blade is lanceolate and has 3 to 7 longitudinal veins. It is furnished with a few long hairs and is green in colour, but rather purplish at the base. The stem measuring 15 to 50 cm is pubescent, hollow, unbranched and grooved. The inflorescence is a cylindrical spike 2-8 cm long, formed by flowers of white color with long stamens, at the end of a long stalk. Ribwort plantain has both a taproot and a very dense fasciculate root system.


Forbs (non-graminoid herbaceous plants).




3 years.



Optimal Time of Use

Ribwort plantain has a good recovery.

Recovery After Use

Tolerates overgrazing.


Generally gives less yield than grasses.

Palatability/Nutritional Value

Ribwort plantain contains condensed tannins which reduce the risk of bloat and gastrointestinal parasitism. Rich in sugars, minerals and proteins, lanceolate plantain is very palatable.

Annual Precipitation min/max (mm)


Drought Tolerance

Good resistance to heat and drought, but performs better in cool climates.

Flooding Tolerance

Sensitive to poor drainage.

Winter Hardiness

Moderate. More resistant to winter conditions when sown in a multi-species mixture.

Soil Texture Preference

Tolerates heavy soils.

Erosion Control


Salinity Tolerance


Acidity Tolerance

Moderate. Tolerates slightly acidic or calcareous soils (pH 5.5 to 8.0).

Alkalinity Tolerance


Seeds per kg

440,000 seeds/kg (968,000 seeds/lb)

Suggested Mixtures

It is recommended to always sow plantain in association with at least one legume, such as white clover or red clover, and ideally in a multispecies mix also including grasses and/or other forbs. Although it does not give the highest yields, plantain is present in multi-species mixes and helps to control weeds

Ease of Establishment

Easy. It establishes quickly.



Management Considerations

Tolerates overgrazing.

Guide des plantes fourragères, CRAAQ, 2022 (in press).


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