Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) is sometimes known as Ribgrass and is a short herb with leather like, ribbed leaves that sprout from the base.
Ribwort Plantain have small oval flower heads that appear at the top of the thin wire like stems. Although the flowers appear between Apil and October, the seed heads remain even after the flowers wilt away. This is so that the during the winter, it can provide food for th Goldfinches and other seed eating birds, which in turn help spread the seeds.
The leaves of this plant are spear shaped, with short stems. In the mown lawn, and over the winter, the leaves of this plant are flat and round, which helps the plant to stay close to the ground, but in meadows and the taller grass the leaves grow upwards and are longer.
The flowers start life as Stubby brown flowers, they grow on plain and unbranched stalks which produce flowers throughout the summer. This plant is valuable to farmers as the leaves are nutritipis food for their grazing animals and the wildlife.
The Ribwort Plantain is very adabtable and it can establish in a wide range of conditions. This plant is able to retain water in ‘gel’ which enables it to grow in even the driest soils, where other species may not be able to survive. If the conditions for growing arent suitable, the seed is long lived and can sit in the soil for months or even years waiting for the right conditions to begin growing.
Height: 10 – 40cm
Flowering Time: May to August
Preferred Conditions: This plant favours chalk or limestone environments, but it can also grow well in heavy clay calcareous soil and is mostly found on down land and within hay meadows.