Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Broadleaf Plantain: Plantago major

bleafplantain12-18b.jpg (198418 bytes) Weed Description: Perennial from a basal rosette with broad oval leaves. Found throughout the United States, primarily a weed of turfgrass.

Seedling: Cotyledons are spatula-shaped and joined at the base. Young leaves oval to elliptic with leaves that encircle the stem.

Roots: Taproot with fibrous roots.

Leaves: Smooth or slightly hairy, oval to elliptic, with a waxy surface and veins that are parallel to the margins. Margins are untoothed and sometimes wavy.

Fruit: A 2-celled oval capsule, 3-5 mm long, that opens by a lid around the middle.

Flowers: Flowers produced on unbranched stalks (scapes) that arise from the rosette. Flowering stems are 5-15 inches long, clustered with small flowers that have whitish petals and bracts surrounding the flowers.

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Identifying Characteristics: This weed may be confused with Blackseed Plantain (Plantago rugelli) that is also found in the eastern United States. Blackseed plantain has a red or purple coloration at the base of the petioles that is less often found in broadleaf plantain. Additionally, the capsules of blackseed plantain are cylindrical and split below the middle, while the capsules of broadleaf plantain are egg-shaped and open by splitting around the middle.