Virginia Plantain

Biological Name:

Plantago spp. (Virginia-Plantain)

Natural Habitat:

The Virginia-Plantain is a perennial herb that can be found growing in moist and sunny areas, such as lawns and gardens. It is native to the eastern United States, including the Virginia region.


Virginia-Plantain is a perennial herb that is native to North America. It has long narrow leaves and small white flowers that bloom in the summer. It is often found in moist shaded areas and spreads by rhizomes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is Virginia plantain edible?
A: As we noted above, Virginia plantain is edible, as are all plantains. According to Eat the Weeds, young leaves can be used raw in a salad or cooked in soups. The seeds can be eaten as well.

Q: Where are the best plantain from?
A: Plantains are relatively unknown in Europe, but in Central and South America and in parts of Africa, plantains are much loved as a staple food. Although they come from the same family as the banana, plantains have all-important differences.

Q: Are there two types of plantains?
A: Two groups of plantains are thought to have a common origin: the horn plantain and the French plantain. Both types grow in India, Africa, Egypt, and tropical America. The French plantains also occur in Indonesia and the islands of the Pacific.

Q: Which color plantain is sweet?
A: RIPE (YELLOW) PLANTAINS As the peel changes to brown or black, it has a sweeter flavor and more of a banana aroma, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked.

Q: What part of wild plantain can you eat?
A: Plantain is a highly nutritious wild edible, that is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten. The seeds are also edible. However, ingesting large quantities can cause a drop in blood pressure.

Q: Is plantain Jamaican or African?
A: Fried plantain is a dish cooked wherever plantains grow, from West Africa to East Africa as well as Central America, the tropical region of northern South America and the Caribbean countries like Haiti to Cuba and in many parts of Southeast Asia, where fried snacks are widely popular.

Q: What is Virginia plantain?
A: Virginia plantain (Plantago virginica) is a perennial wildflower that can grow to be 15 – 30 cm tall. It blooms from spring to summer with 15 cm tall flower spikes that are filled white tiny white blossoms. It is native to Florida and valued as an astringent. The leaves stem and seeds are edible. Plant Type.

Q: Which month plantain is best in Nigeria?
A: September is the best month to plant plantain in Nigeria.

Q: What are the benefits of plantain?
A: Plantains are a carb-rich food and a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain antioxidants that fight free radicals. With good levels of vitamin C, they can also support immune function. Likewise, their vitamin B6 content may reduce cardiovascular risk and improve mood.

Q: Why is plantain called white man’s foot?
A: Plantain does particularly well in compacted or disturbed soils and can survive repeated trampling. Native Americans called it “white man’s footprint”” because it appeared and thrived in disturbed areas around European settlements. Its roots work to break up hardpan soil and can help stop erosion.”

Q: Is broadleaf plantain poisonous to humans?
A: Not only is this a vital wild edible plant for overall good health, this wild weed can be used to treat chronic diarrhea as well as digestive tract disorders. Broadleaf plantain is packed with nutrients and is safe to ingest.

Q: Are all types of plantain edible?
A: I’m not talking about the banana-like fruit, fried Cuban-style. I’m talking about the edible weed that grows wild in your yard and garden and vacant lots throughout North America. There are over 200 species of plantain within the genus Plantago, and, as far as I know, all are edible.

Q: Where do the best plantains come from?
A: Plantains are relatively unknown in Europe, but in Central and South America and in parts of Africa, plantains are much loved as a staple food.

Q: Can you grow plantains in Virginia?
A: Rare Species in Virginia In addition to common plantain, narrow-leaf plantain (also known as English plantain) is another very common backyard plant from which seeds and greens can be collected in a similar fashion to above.

Q: Can banana trees survive in Virginia?
A: Some may dispute that extreme claim, but tropical enthusiasts in Fairfax don’t care. We know that Musa basjoo survives our worst winter weather and actually thrives here as an herbaceous perennial. These bananas are incredibly easy to grow.

Q: How long does it take plantain to bear fruit?
A: Flowering takes 10-15 months of mild temperatures and yet another 4-8 months to fruit. Flowers are produced from the pseudostem and develop into a cluster of hanging fruit.

Q: Can plantain trees survive winter?
A: Temperature and Humidity The plantain tree is a tropical tree plant that cannot withstand freezing temperatures–the cold will kill off its fruit, flowers, and leaves.

Q: What is the best month to plant plantain?
A: Planting plantain suckers in the month of June will allow the suckers to grow well because this month is the heart of the rainy season. The maturity time of plantain when planted in June will fall in the lean time which will enable the farmer to sell at a high price.

Q: Where do plantains grow best?
A: Requirements Plantains grow best in hot and humid climates, require a rainfall of at least 1000 mm (39.4 in) per year to survive and have a high light requirement. Plantains will grow optimally at 27°C (98.6°F) and require a deep soil, rich in organic matter which is well draining and well aerated.

Q: How many plantain can I plant per acre?
A: Plant density: For plantains use 1,000 to 1,200 plants per acre with planted distances of 6´x 6´ or 6´x 7´ for the mountainous zone, and 10´x 4´ for the coastal plains.

Q: What is Narrowleaf plantain used for?
A: Uses and Parts Used Leaves have bronchodilation properties and can be used for bronchitis and throat colds. Leaf poultice used for blisters, sores, ulcers, swelling, insect stings, earaches, and eye ailments. Seeds, like any plantain, may be ingested to reduce cholesterol levels.

Q: What are the side effects of eating plantain?
A: Most healthy adults can safely eat plantain weed’s leaves either raw or cooked. However, plantain supplements may cause mild symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and skin reactions.

Q: What does boiled plantain water do to the body?
A: The high amount of potassium found in plantains is essential for maintaining the cell and body fluids that control your heart rate and blood pressure. The fiber in plantains also helps lower your cholesterol, which in turn keeps your heart functioning at its best.

Q: Is plantain good for infection?
A: It can draw out and close up pus and infection from dirty wounds and soothes irritated membranes. Plantain is also helpful in bronchial infections and pneumonia.

Q: What part of plantain is medicinal?
A: The leaves are primarily used as medicine, but the seeds can also be utilized as a laxative. Plantain can be used to soothe bronchitis, burns, coughs, dermatitis, insect bites and stings, peptic ulcers, urinary tract infection and wound healing.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.