Plantago lanceolata is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. It is known by the common names English plantain, narrowleaf plantain, ribwort plantain, ribleaf and lamb's tongue. It is a common weed of cultivated land.
The plant is a rosette-forming perennial herb, with leafless, silky, hairy flower stems 3.9–15.7 in. The basal leaves are lanceolate spreading or erect, scarcely toothed with 3-5 strong parallel veins narrowed to short petiole. Grouping leaf stalk deeply furrowed, ending in an ovoid inflorescence of many small flowers each with a pointed bract. Each flower can produce up to two seeds. Flowers 4 mm (calyx green, corolla brownish), 4 bent back lobes with brown midribs, long white stamens. It is considered an invasive weed in North America. It is present and widespread in the Americas and Australia as an introduced species.
Plantago lanceolata is native to Eurasia, but has been introduced to North America and many other parts of the world with suitable habitats.
Considered to be an indicator of agriculture in pollen diagrams, P. lanceolata has been found in western Norway from the Early Neolithic onwards, something considered an indicator of grazing in that area.
Ribleaf is used frequently in herbal teas and other herbal remedies. A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine. In the traditional Austrian medicine Plantago lanceolata leaves have been used internally (as syrup or tea) or externally (fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, insect bites, and infections.
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