Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Plantain (Plantago), a name given originally to various plants with broad leathery leaves. In England it applies to the species of the genus Plantago, common weeds. P. major, with ascending leaves, a plant of waste places and road-sides, produces long spikes of fruit, which, when unripe, are collected as food for cage-birds. P. media, with mealy, flatter leaves and violet bracts to its shorter flower-spike, is even more troublesome as a weed on lawns, especially on limestone. P. lanceolata, a meadow-plant, has short black-bracted spikes of flowers on long peduncles. In the tropics the name is applied to that race of the bananas which have a green stem without purple spots, and a yellow angular fruit only edible when cooked; but the plant is not a distinct species from Musa sapientum, the banana (q.v.).