Weed of the Month: Broadleaf Plantain

Lark�s tail

Broadleaf Plantain

Common name: Broadleaf Plantain
Scientific name: Plantago major L.

Life Cycle: Perennial
Origin: Eurasia
Poisonous: No

Broadleaf plantain is widespread across North America and is a commonly occurring plant in all types of pastures and rough turf. It readily survives overgrazing and compacted horse pastures, especially when rainfall is limited. Leaves can grow up to four inches wide and two to 10 inches in length, depending on the growing conditions. Each leaf has three to seven prominent veins. The flower stalk usually grows 10-20 inches high, and the flower-containing spikes can measure from six to 10 inches. Both flowers and fruits bloom from May through September or October. Broadleaf plantain is spread primarily by seeds.

This weed has a fibrous root system and an underground root crown from which leaves and flower stalks arise. This structure allows broadleaf plantain plants to survive mowing several times during the year. Broadleaf plantain is relatively easy to control with several herbicides; however, mowing in pastures is generally ineffective. Hoeing or digging the taproot (the main root that grows vertically downward) 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 the department of plant and soil sciences at the University of Kentucky, provided this information.

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