1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 3.71 out of 5)

Ribwort Plantain

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn Spring Spring Summer Summer

The flower heads taste surprisingly like mushroom and can also be used by school children as ‘pop’ guns.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Ribwort Plantain, Narrow Leaf Plantain
Scientific Name Plantago lanceolata
Season Start Mar
Season End Nov
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


The leaves are long, narrow, lanceolate shaped and have veins (ribs) running parallel from the base of the leaf to the pointed top.


The flowers grow from a stubby brown inflorescence on a leafless flower stalk and are tiny and white and can be found throughout Summer.


The flower stem is square in profile and can be quite hairy.


Fields, lawns, meadows, roadsides, waste ground, parks and even sand dunes. It is a very hardy plant and can usually be found in any environment with soil.

Possible Confusion

Can look a little like Hoary Plantain, Plantago media but this has downy/hairy leaves and is edible.


The leaves, like Common Plantain, are too bitter, even when young but the ‘bud’ on the flower stem tastes suprisingly like mushroom.


Very common.


The leaves can be collected at any time for medicinal use, the flower ‘buds’, if being used to make a mushroom stock, need to be collected after they have turned brown but before they get really dry.

Medicinal Uses

Ribwort Plantain seems to be a very versatile addition to the medicine cabinet being an antihistamine, antifungal, antioxidant, analgesic and even a mild antibiotic. Used as an antihistamine, Ribwort Plantain is very effective at dealing with nettle stings or insect bites/stings unlike Dock which is just a placebo but if your children get stung and you can’t find any Plantain, placebos work.
The leaves can also be used to make a tea that acts as an effective cough medicine.
The roots apparantly make an effective treatment for rattlesnake bites!


28 comments for Ribwort Plantain

  1. Kris Lord says:

    Thank you for the useful information on Ribwort plantain. I have used your page a reference for my own study on the common plant.
    Thank you.
    Kris Lord

    1. Tony Kemp says:

      Why do my guinea pigs love the seed heads ??

      1. Eric Biggane says:

        Most animals know what is good for them and Plantain is full of healthy vitamins and minerals.

  2. Doreen says:

    My dog has eaten all the plantain i my garden. Why would she do this

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Doreen, Plantain is a very healthy plant containing vitamins and minerals so your dog is just eating well or maybe she just likes the flavour.

  3. Brian Hunter says:

    This info was by helpful. Thank you so much.

  4. Mike Sparrow says:

    I am extremely interested in the natural world but my knowledge of wild flowers and herbs is very limited. Thank you for the extremely useful information.

  5. Paul Carroll says:

    This plant is being studied in detail in Trinity College Dublin and there is an excellent interview about in on Mooney goes Wild available on the RTE player April 20th 2020 starting at minute 30 about, a fascinating plant indeed that I never even had a name for but have known since childhood.

    1. Donna makhsous says:

      Thank you. Going to look into this.

  6. William McCammon says:

    Is ribwort plantain dangerous to dogs when eaten as my dog has eaten it and was sick and had diarrhoea we have a lot of it in our meadow grass would like some advice please

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Plantains are apparently healthy for both humans and dogs and are ingredients in some herbal pet remedies.

      1. Barbara says:

        Would this plant I wonder be used to cure a verruca

        1. Eric Biggane says:

          I don’t know if this great medicinal plant stretches to curing a verruca but it is worth a try.

  7. adrienne cartledge says:

    My tortoise (an 18 year old hermanns) goes crazy for this plant and its flowers – she has a whole diet of weeds and flowers . . . loved reading this

  8. Queenn Rogers Martin says:

    There are a host of wild herbs growing in my yard. Wish you were here to identify them and their medical purposes. I live in Virginia

    1. Sue Whiterod says:

      There is a ‘phone app called i-plant. Download it, then photograph the plants you wish to identify – bingo, the app will tell you what it is 🙂

      1. Eric Biggane says:

        Apps are great for pointing you in the right direction but to safely identify and eat a wild plant or mushroom, check various other sources and make sure you feel 100% confident of your ID before consumption.

  9. Bill Ellis says:

    My mother told me that she and her brother would dig up the roots to eat the nut.
    I have tried it and it tastes a bit like horse radish. Nutty and hot.

  10. Sly Kamb says:

    Does plantain leaf heal kidney disease, I want to know

    1. Phil Leng says:

      Hi Sly,
      Sorry we can’t help you with that, its a bit beyond our field. Best talk to a doctor for that one.

  11. Sylvia says:

    Hi, can you smoke dried ribwort plantain like you can the broad leaf one? I’ve heard it’s good for stopping smoking. Is this right?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I haven’t heard of anybody smoking Plantain leaves but if it is possible with Greater Plantain, I can’t see why Ribwort would be any different.

  12. Keir says:

    Fantastic food for tortoises too

  13. Ricky cooper says:

    Has brought my blood pressure down

    1. Iris says:

      Ricky, did you eat the leaves cooked, to bring down blood pressure, or the flower heads? How much and for how long? Thanks! — Iris

  14. Everett James says:

    If using as a blood pressure therapy, what wood you recommend as a daily dose?

  15. Blue lake says:

    its useful for stomach pains too.

  16. Iris says:

    Rabbits like both plantains but especially the broadleaf. When I was a child, many moons ago, we did not have bought rabbit food, and fed our pets on plantains, mostly broadleaf, dandelions and a little docks, also vegetables like dry cabbage, carrots an and a slice of dried bread, of course there are many more wild greens they like but I kept to the ones I knew were good for them and not harmful. They also had straw in their beds, which they would nibble at. They need to nibble to keep their teeth down.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *