Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Plantago lanceolata L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Flowers. © CSIRO
Flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. (1753) Species Plantarum 1: 113. Type: Habitat in Europae campis sterilibus.

Common name

Plantain, ribwort; Plantain, narrow leaf; Ribwort plantain; Narrow leaf plantain


Annual or biennial herb, with a persistent taproot; densely or sparsely pilose or silky.


Lamina 13-30 x 1.5-2.5 cm, petioles 6-8 mm long. Surfaces clothed in hairs. Venation obvious, consistinf of 5 distinct ca. parallel veins from the leaf base, each of which is depressed on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Lamina gradually narrowed into a long petiole. Petiole deeply grooved on the upper surface and expanded at the base and clasping the stem.


Flowers borne in dense, head-like spikes 2-6 cm long. Peduncles 20-45 cm long. Sepals with a broad green medial line, keeled, 4-5 x 1.2-2 mm. Corolla tuba about 4 mm long. Corolla lobes cream to brown, about 2 x 1 mm. Staminal filaments about 6-7 mm long, attached to the base of the corolla tube. Anthers about 2 x 1 mm. Style single, unbranched, pubescent with a few hairs on the stigma.


Capsule 3-4 mm long.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species in NEQ and in south eastern Queensland and southwards to southern Australia. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1560 m. Grows in openings and along roads in rainforest, Eucalypt forest, vine forest and moist places in various types of woodland and dune vegetation.

Natural History & Notes

A common weed of horticulture and agriculture.

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