*Plantago lanceolata

Family Plantaginaceae

Lamb’s Tongue, Plantain

Annual or biennial herb with persistent taproot. Longevity 1 - 3 years.

Flowers: Small in spikes, September – April. Probably wind pollinated.

Fruit: Capsule 3 – 4 mm long.

Seed: 1-2 per fruit, 2.5 – 3 mm long. Soil stored seedbank.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Native of Europe and Central Asia.
  • Common weed of disturbed sites like roadsides and grasslands.
  • Common in woodland and grassland at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Seed reportedly eaten by Galah Cacatua roseicapilla, roots eaten by Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita.
  • Resprouts after fire.
  • Reported to be dispersed in cow dung in Europe.
  • Abundant seedlings noted in periodic moist sites.

Asterisk * indicates exotic species naturalised at the Australian Botanic Garden.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Plantago lanceolata plant

Plantago lanceolata flower 

Plantago lanceolata fruit