Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Blackseed Plantain: Plantago rugelii

Weed Description: Perennial from a basal rosette with broad oval leaves. Often mistaken for the closely related broadleaf plantain (Plantago major). 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.

Leaves: Usually lacking hairs, oval to elliptic and tapered at the tip, with a somewhat waxy surface and veins that are parallel to the margins. Margins are usually wavy and toothed. Petiole bases are conspicuously red or purple tinged.

Roots: Taproot with fibrous roots.

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.

Fruit: A cylindrical, 4-6 mm long, 4-10 seeded capsule that splits below the middle.

Identifying Characteristics: Blackseed Plantain (Plantago rugelii) has petioles with red or purple colorations at their bases, a lighter green, less waxy leaf appearance, and capsules that split below the middle. These are all characteristics that help to distinguish it from the closely-related Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major). Additionally, the leaves of blackseed plantain are hairless, and have toothed and wavy margins, unlike the leaves of broadleaf plantain.