Broadleaf Plantain

Today we introduced some weeds into our garden, planting some broadleaf plantain (Plantago major) seeds that we collected on our bike camping and wild food excursion with Christopher Nyerges. As Nyerges noted, this is one of those plants that Martha Stewart hates, and that makes the purveyors of toxic herbicides and lawn care products rich.

You can’t eat your lawn folks. You can, however, eat broadleaf plantain. The young leaves are edible raw, but the more mature leaves must be cooked. The seeds can also be eaten either raw or roasted, though we should note that they have a laxative effect (nothin’ wrong with that!). The plant can also be used to treat wounds, by soaking the plant and applying it to the injured area. A tea can be made of the leaves that will treat diarrhea.

Broadleaf plantain was apparently one of the first so-called “weeds” introduced to the New World by the Europeans, which is why the plant is also known as “white man’s foot”. The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program describes its impact thusly:

In turfgrass they form dense clumps that give poor footing for athletic fields and golf courses. The plantains have a texture and color that varies from normal turf cultivars, and their flower stalks extend above the turf, reducing its aesthetic quality.

Frankly, SurviveLA applauds anything that will cause golfers to slip and fall. The world’s 35,000 golf courses use enough water each day to support 4.7 billion people. Power to the broadleaf plantain!

Leave a comment


  1. The Plantain was really delicious! And we’re looking forward to collecting some seeds for our home-made bread next time.

    And golf courses are a crime! I can’t believe that they are legal after all that waste of water!

  2. “The world’s 35,000 golf courses use enough water each day to support 4.7 billion people”

    I hated golf courses before reading this. What do I do now?

    Didn’t know about the plantain.

  3. Looking forward to my first plantain salad.

    Support 4.7 million? From where does that stat originate and what does it mean? Are there 4.7 million dehydrating right now because of golf courses?

    Grow up. It is economic growth that creates a better respect for the environment. It is poverty that forces people to destroy the environment out of necessity. Compare the US with Africa’s or China’s record on environmentalism.

    Although you may hate people who have more money than you, you need to start looking at facts and not just Reverend Al Gore’s fanatic hyperbole. Basing your belief system on feeling good is a childish way to avoid the truth.

    Jealousy is an ugly thing. Marx and Obama are masters at inciting class envy for their personal gain. Environmentalism is the new “justice”. Read “Green Hell”, it’s an eye-opener.

  4. @Anonymous #2

    I’m not sure what you mean–seeds and leaves are pretty much all there is to eat above ground. Are you asking if you can eat the roots? The roots have medicinal properties, so while you could eat them (ie they wouldn’t poison you), they may have properties that would make them not ideal for casual eating . I know the roots are sometimes used for toothache, and also recommended for bowel complaints.

    The plant as a whole is an excellent medicinal plant. I’m a big believer in the power of the leaves to soothe the skin, and I make salves of the leaves.

    Check this out for more on the historical medical uses of plantain:

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