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Common Plantain (Plantago major L.)

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A familiar lawn weed, this plant is native to Europe and northern and central Asia, but has been introduced to North America where it is widely established across the continent.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


Lawns, pastures, vacant lots, and disturbed areas. Tolerates fairly heavy foot traffic. The flat-growing leaves survive regular mowing, which tends to favor this plant by removing competing vegetation. The growth habit also protects this plant from browsing cattle, causing it to thrive in pastures.

Life Cycle

This plant is a perennial.

Faunal Associations

Mammalian herbivores, including both wild animals such as deer and rabbits, and livestock such as cattle and sheep, regularly eat the leaves.

The leaves are eaten by the larvae of the common buckeye (Junonia coenia) butterfly, although that species prefers the narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata), another introduced species that is closely related.

There are numerous other Plantago species found across North America, including both native and non-native ones.

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Plantago major (broad-leaved plantain) | CABI Invasive Species Compendium (About This Site)

Plantago major | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

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Plantago major | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Common Plantain | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Plantago major (Common Plantain) | Minnesota Wildflowers (About This Site)

Plantago major L. (Common Plantain) | Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (About This Site)