Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pondering PLANTAIN

Our first plant to get acquainted with is PLANTAIN. Not the banana. The one that Montasano would like you to use their products on. First we'll find out how to recognize it. Then we'll look at it's medicinal uses and why it works, and then on to edible goodies and some recipes.

Usually overlooked, stepped over, maligned as a "weed" and often eradicated, PLANTAIN is a wild child everyone should get to know. A fellow plant-person just told me her grandmother called plantain "medicine leaf" - and so it is!

Recognize this? Common plantain ( Plantago major; also known as Broad Leaf, or Round Leaf Plantain) with a rounded leaf, and "English" plantain (Plantago lanceolata; also known as Lance-leaf Plantain, or Rib-wort), with a long narrow leaf, both have thickish smooth-topped leaves with prominant veins. The "strings" from larger leaves were reportedly used for suturing way back when on the frontier...
It is neighborly with dandelions, they do well in the same lawns. Which is frowned upon by the Lawn Police. Plantain also shows up as one of the first plants in disturbed soil, and where there are sidewalks or other concrete with cracks there will usually be some plantain. It's most often referred to as "that weed"...

Common plantain has seed stalks that are tall and slender, covered with tiny seeds that darken as they ripen. Lance-leaf plantain has a tall slender stalk that has only about an inch of seeds right at the tip. Looks like a lion's tail. The seeds can be harvested and used, more on them in the cooking section.

Here's your homework: go find some plantain. So you can come play with me!

No comments:

Post a Comment