Plantago major

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaPlantaginaceaePlantagoPlantago major


A perennial herb of open habitats; it is most frequent on trampled paths and tracks, disturbed field edges and roadsides, and in gardens, but it also occurs in some closed grasslands. It grows in a wide range of soils, avoiding only very acidic sites, and can produce a large and persistent seed bank. 0-625 m (Knock Fell), with an exceptional record at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (both Westmorland).



World Distribution

Eurasian Wide-temperate element, but naturalised in N. America so distribution is now Circumpolar Wide-temperate.

© M. Cotterill, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1102

Height (cm): 15

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2766

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 975

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: 0.09

Weighted Changed Factor: -27

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (254a)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hawthorn WR
1974.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 4. Plantago major and P. rugelli. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 54:383-396.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Sagar GR, Harper JL
1964.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 95. Plantago major L. (pp. 189-205), Plantago media L. (pp. 205-210), Plantago lanceolata L. (pp. 211-218). Journal of Ecology. 52:189-221.