Plantain: A Jewel in the Weeds


Plantain: A Jewel in the Weeds
  • Posted September 15, 2014
Plantain in Clay Plantain and dandelion are in hot competition for being the most common weeds in the world, as well as the most useful. Plantain can colonize bare, sun-baked clay and turn it into a lush meadow. It breaks up the soil with its roots and covers it with its leaves to keep it from washing away. Like dandelion, there is a war against it in lawns and gardens everywhere, but if its virtues were to be fully appreciated, this would certainly not be the case.
Plantain Bread Tapa Plantain has the semi-miraculous ability to extract huge quantities of nutrients from seemingly infertile soil. It is known to provide more nutrients to cattle than many intentionally cultivated pasture crops and grows without any effort on the part of the farmer. The leaves are edible by humans, as well, and are as enjoyable as any salad green when young and tender — and more nutritious than most.
Crushed Plantain Medicinal

A poultice of crushed plantain leaves is used throughout the world to soothe bug bites and bee stings; far from being an urban myth, its anti-inflammatory properties have been thoroughly validated by science. And one other little known fact about plantain: a close relative of the common garden variety, known as psyllium, is grown on a commercial scale for use in the common drugstore remedy, Metamucil.

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Brian Barth
About the Author

After 15 years as a professional landscape designer and horticulturalist, Brian Barth embarked on a second career to share his passion—and the knowledge he's accrued—through writing. His love of plants is all-encompassing, but he has a particular soft spot for culinary crops.


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Plantain: A Jewel in the Weeds