Flower Color:
  • flower color
fields, roadsides, wasteareas, dry paddocks, pastures

Time of Greatest Risk


Geographical Distribution

Common plantain distribution - United States

Related Species

Common Plantain

Plantago major

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Common plantain (Plantago major ) is a broad-leaved perennial from the Plantain family (Plantaginaceae) that is considered to a troublesome weed. It is often found in horse paddocks containing little to no grass coverage.
The plant initially forms a rosette of oval-shaped leaves. Between early summer and late fall, leafless flower stalks, 6 to 18 inches tall, arise from the center of the rosette. The flowers are small, greenish-brown to white which will become a small capsule-like seedpod containing 10 to 20 seeds. When the seeds are mature, the seedpods split in half, and the seeds fall to the ground to start the whole thing over.

Toxic components
P. major can accumulate high levels of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) which are a combination of starch and sugar. Horses are unable to tolerate large levels of NSC consumed in one setting, and can result in metabolic disturbances, such as colic or laminitis. It is an even bigger issue for horses with existing metabolic issues, such as Cushing's disease, Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM), Insulin resistant, laminitis, etc. that need to be on a strictly controlled diet with minimal levels of NSC to support their activity level.