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Broadleaf Plantain

Brown Patch close upBrown Patch damagePlant Description: Broadleaf plantain is a perennial that frequently inhabits turfgrass, where it survives repeated mowing by growing as a ground-hugging rosette. The species has large, oval, strongly ribbed leaves and small, inconspicuous flowers appearing in clusters on solitary, erect flower stems. Broadleaf plantain leaves are thick, leathery, and taper to a petiole having a green base. Seeds are the primary means by which this species reproduce, although it is capable of reproducing vegetatively from root fragments.

Brown Patch close upRoots are mostly fibrous with a short taproot. The erect flowering stems (scapes) are less than 12 inches tall, leafless, unbranched, and terminate in a cluster of small, inconspicuous flowers. Mature leaves are thick, leathery, broad, oval, up to 12 inches long, and have 3 or more prominent veins running parallel to the leaf edge. Leaf edges are either smooth or irregularly toothed. Leaves attach to the compressed stem of the rosette by way of a thick green petiole that is about as long as the leaf blade. Inconspicuous greenish or white flowers are clustered in long, narrow spikes at the end of a flowering stem. Both plantain species flower from June through September. Seeds are dispersed by wind, birds, or human activity. When wet, seeds develop a sticky mucilaginous cover that causes them to stick on soil particles and adhere to animals. Broadleaf Plantain can produce up to 14,000 seeds per plant per year and seeds may remain viable for up to 60 years. Seeds germinate in late spring, through midsummer, and again in early fall.  Birds are fond of plantain seeds, which contain a higher percentage of oil than many seeds and are grown commercially and included in some bird seed mixtures.