L. Plantaginaceae - Ribwort (May- Sept.) A perennial herb with 20-47cm tall flower-scape and a short, silkly hairy stem. The leaves areall basal, 3-30cm 10ng,Ianceolate to ovate-Ianceolate, usually entire, rarely toothed, distinctly 3 to 5-nerved, tapering into a usually long petiole at the base. The flowers are very small, regular, arranged in a dense 1-5cm long, cylindrical spike; the scape is always longer than the leaves, deeply grooved. The corolla is 4-lobed, 3.5-4mm in diameter, brownish; the lobes are acute, with a brown midrib. The 4 white stamens are inserted in the corolla-tube. The fruit is a 4-5mm wide 2-seeded capsule.
grassland, roadsides, riverbanks, hedges, etc. Distribution:
throughout the region. Active ingredients:
mucilage, silicic acid, aucubine, ursolic acid, tannins, vitamin C. Effect:
mildly expectorant, mildly purgative and (perhaps) diuretic. Parts used:
the dried leaves; dry as quickly as possible in the sun or shade (leaves which are black should be discarded); store in sacks suspended in well-ventilated rooms. Application Medical:
the drug is contained in some cough mixtures. In the home an infusion (2 teaspoons per cup water, allow to stand for 12-15 minutes) is taken 2-3 times a day for bronchitis and coughs; it is also taken as a spring tonic (to purify the blood). for disorders of the liver and diarrhoea. The freshly pressed juice can also be taken for coughs. Edibility:
The young leaves are occasionally eaten. They are, however, rather bitter and tedious to prepare since their fibrous strands have to be removed before use.
L. Plantaginaceae - Great Plantain (June- Oct.) This perennial is closely related to the above but can be distinguished from it as follows. The leaves are ovate or elliptic from a broadly rounded base. The scape is not grooved. The corolla lobes are without a prominent brown midrib. The anthers are lilac to yellowish. Otherwise as for the preceding species. The dried, mature inflorescences can be used as food for cage birds.