Weed of the Month: Buckhorn Plantain

Weed of the Month: Buckhorn Plantain

Buckhorn Plantain

Photo: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment

Common name: Buckhorn Plantain
Scientific name: Plantago lanceolata L.

Life Cycle: Perennial
Origin: Eurasia
Poisonous: No

Buckhorn plantain is widespread across North America and is common in various pastures and turf. Also called narrow leaf plantain, this weed is well-known because of its unique growth habit. Leaves are narrow and have three to five prominent veins. Flowers and seeds are born on a leafless, slightly hairy stem. Flowers are golden brown and arranged in a dense cluster at the tip of the stem, which makes it difficult to distinguish individual flowers. The fruits are brown capsules and are easily recognized atop the stem. Both flowers and fruits occur from May through about September or October.

Fibrous roots are produced from a thick, short taprootlike underground stem. This structure allows buckhorn plantain plants to survive mowing several times during the year. Buckhorn plantain is relatively easy to control with several herbicides; however, it's generally ineffective to mow in pastures. Hoeing or digging the tap root is successful and should be done before the seed heads are formed. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service personnel for herbicidal control in your area.

William W. Witt, PhD, a researcher in Plant and Soil Sciences, provided this information.

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