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Broadleaf plantain leaves have an ovate shape with deeply ribbed veins. The entire plant, including seeds, leaves and blossoms are edible. Broadleaf plantain produces flower stalks once mature. The young leaves are tender and succulent. Older leaves become chewy and eventually fibrous. The flavor of Broadleaf plantain leaves is earthy and slightly grassy with undertones of pepper, that pepper nuance is intensified with warmer climates and dry soil. The roots and flowers have milder and sweeter notes of the same flavors.
Broadleaf plantain can be found during spring through fall.
Broadleaf plantain, AKA Greater plantain, botanical name Plantago major, is a species of Plantago. Plantago is a genus of roughly 200 species of small, inconspicuous plants that have been commonly used for herbal remedies since prehistory. Broadleaf plantain is a wind-pollinated perennial plant, thus it essentially grows indefinitely. It goes dormant in the winter months and forms a new taproot system each spring. Seeds are dispersed by foraging animals, including deer, rabbits and birds. The seeds are also naturally found as an external contaminant of cereal grains and other crop seeds.
Broadleaf plantain's densely concentrated levels of chemical constituents place it as one of the most prolific and widely distributed medicinal crops in the world. The active chemical constituents are aucubin, allantoin and mucilage. These compounds contain many antimicrobial, antiviral, antitoxin, astringent, tissue healing, cooling and diuretic properties. The leaves are commonly processed and prepared as an ointment or poultice.
Broadleaf plantain can be utilized for many different preparations. The young leaves can be added to salads, or cooked similar to greens such as spinach and kale. The leaves do stringy and strongly flavored as they age, particularly where they grow in hot and dry climates. Thus, with age, Broadleaf plantain leaves are well suited for making stock or tea.
Broadleaf plantain is native to the general landscape of greater Europe and northern and central Asia. It has been naturalized throughout the Americas through colonization. Through its naturalization of foreign habitats, it became known as "the White Man's footprint" as it adapted to fields and roadsides that were disturbed by humans, a trait that is uncommon among most grasses. Its ability to adapt to trampled soils actually makes it a natural soil rehabilitator.
Recipes that include Broadleaf Plantain. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Mommy Potamus||Plantain Salve Recipe (Homemade First Aid Ointment Not Edible)|
|Eat the Weeds||Roasted Broadleaf Plantain Chips|