Scouting for weeds: Broadleaf plantain
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
Broadleaf plantain: Plantago major L.
Life cycle: Rosette-forming simple perennial.
Leaves: All leaves originate from a basal rosette. Cotyledons are long and spatula-shaped. Leaves are generally smooth and broadly to narrowly oval, with parallel veins and smooth to slightly wavy leaf margins. Leaf base tapers to a distinct petiole. Petioles are usually green but occasionally pale pink.
Stems: No visible aboveground stem. Short taproot present.
Flowers and fruit: Leafless stalks bear long, dense, cylinder-shaped flowering spikes and fruit resembling a rat tail. Single flowers are inconspicuous. Fruiting capsules yield many narrowly oval, usually glossy brown seeds.
Similar weeds: Blackseed plantain (P. rugelii Dcne.)
Differs by often having dark red to purple petioles, usually wavy leaf margins and dull dark brown to black seeds.