Synonyms for Ribwort Plantain: English Plantain, Lanceleaf Plantain, Narrowleaf Plantain, Snake Plantain, Black Plantain, Long Plantain, Ribble Grass, Ribwort, Black Jack, Jackstraw, Lamb's Tongue, Hen Plant, Wendles, Kemps, Cocks, Quinquenervia, Costa Canina.
Scientific Name: Plantago lanceolata L.
Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantains)
We are seldom aware of how often Ribwort Plantain grows by the wayside. Its inconspicuous flowerhead, from which the small flowers with delicate stamens peer out, looks more like the spikelet on the end of a long stem of grass and is almost lost amongst the colourful variety of meadow flowers. On the ground, however, the narrow lance-shaped leaves that give the plant the specific epithet lanceolata, form a large rosette. The veins on the 20 to 40 cm long leaves are not branched like in other plants but run the length of the leaves. This is a characteristic that is otherwise usually found only in grasses. Thus, there are two ways in which Ribwort Plantain imitates the grasses with which it lives side by side in the meadows. The perennial plant grows happily anywhere on dry meadows, fields, wasteland and waysides and flowers from May to September.