Skip to main content
A picture of a Greater Plantain

Greater Plantain

Plantago major

Also known as

Common Plantain, Cart-track Plant, White Man's Foot, Plantain Weed, Healing Blade, Lamb's Foot, Lark Seed, Rat's Tail

Photo by productive_spignel3 (All rights reserved)

Partial Shade
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Greater Plantain

A photo of Greater Plantain
A photo of Greater Plantain
A photo of Greater Plantain
A photo of Greater Plantain
A photo of Greater Plantain

Greater Plantain Overview

Plantago major, commonly known as Greater Plantain or Broad-Leaf Plantain, is a native perennial wildflower to Northern Europe and considered by many as a weed. It produces upright and scaly-looking 'tail-like straw-coloured flower spikes - leading to its other common name of 'Rat's Tail' - from a low lying rosette of leaves. This free seeding plant - on average, one plant can produce 14,000 per year - will germinate in any disturbed ground and forms a strong root system that helps it cope with drought and floods. If growing unwanted in your lawn, you may need to remove this low growing plant by hand as mowers often miss it.

Common problems with Greater Plantain

How to propagate Greater Plantain


Propagation is by seeds.


Division in the spring.

Special features of Greater Plantain

Attracts bees

A useful food source of a variety of pollinators.

Other uses of Greater Plantain

These wildflowers suits being included in wildlife-friendly meadows. Sowing may not be required - they will frequently arrive on their own.


Greater Plantain leaves can be eaten when young - however, they have a bitter flavour which intensifies with maturity. They contain small amounts of calcium and vitamin A. ;


Antihistamine - The leaves can be used to soothe insect stings and bites, and may help with nettle stings. It has also been used for its mild antibiotic and analgesic qualities as dressings to stem bleeding


Fibre from the boiled plant can be wrapped into cord.