Recently, I posted about using the weed/herb Plantain for treating insect bites. A reader asked how we can identify these plants to be certain we are using the correct plant. I think she raised a great question.
Plantain is a perennial weed that can be found almost anywhere in the United States. It has shiny dark green leaves and may grow to about 6 inches long and four inches wide, but vary in size depending on the location.
The best method for identifying this plant is for someone to show you what it is and where it is located in your area. More than likely you have some growing in your yard or driveway! It does even grow in the cracks on sidewalks. Some of the other names for Plantain include Plantago major, Ripple grass, waybread, snakeweed,waybroad, Cuckoo’s bread, Che Qian Zi, Englishman’s foot, and White man’s foot. There are more than 200 species in the plantain family. The most common type in North America is Plantago mjor. The other common type is Plantago lanceolata. I have included some pictures in this post both what I have taken as well as some from the internet.
There are many uses for plantain and it can even be eaten as salad or cooked like spinach.
You can find more information and recipes for plantain here.
Plantago major pictured above (the kind I used for my plantain astringent).
Plantago lanceolata pictured above.