Botanical name: Plantago major and lanceolata
How to grow it: There’s two main varieties of Plantain – broad leafed & narrow leafed and they’re both very common weeds around the world. I usually have both to give me choices when harvesting.
If you have dandelions growing wild in your garden, there’s a very good chance plantain is growing too – they both like the same conditions and are extremely hardy.
Plantain is perennial and survives the toughest conditions – roadsides, cracks in pavement etc. but does respond very well to a sunny, well drained position – 1 plant may be all that’s needed for a regular supply of leaves.
Propogating is by seed only – which you can collect from the flower spikes as soon as they turn brown. Wouldn’t recommend allowing it to self seed as you’ll have it everywhere and be forever weeding it out.
Good plant for pots and containers
Nutrition: High in vitamins A,C & K, calcium, iron, silica and many other minerals which make it a great addition to your diet.
Medicinally, Plantain can be used as a poultice on open wounds to aid blood clotting & healing. I think it’s most valuable use is as a general tonic for the digestive system where it performs healing & cleansing actions that can work wonders for disease.
Using it in the kitchen: Very young leaves can be used in salads and older leaves in cooked dishes, but I don’t find it particularly palatable.
I prefer to use it in my morning smoothie knowing what a good job it’s doing in maintaining my digestive system, and it can be taken as tea with your other favourite herbs.
The seeds are also edible and nutritious – I sometimes add them to my smoothies too.
Plantain is an awesome survival plant as it’s so hardy and provides us with really high nutrition. You can generally find Plantain without even having a garden – most people know it as a weed and would be happy for you to harvest/remove it.