Plantago major is a perennial C3 herb (Pooter et al. 1990), fibrous rooted from a short rootstock (caudex).
Leaves all basal, with spiral rosette formation, wide, egg-shaped (ovate), mostly entire, to 18 cm long, 11 cm wide, leaf stalk bases usually green sometimes red, usually finely hairy (use lens) hairy; flower stalk to 25 cm.
Flowers very small, green, sepals egg-shaped, tip blunt, keel about as wide as membranous margins; inflorescence spike green, linear bracts below flowers egg-shaped with blunt tip; wind pollinated (Wyatt 1983).
Fruit a dry capsule 0.25- 0.4 cm long, seeds glossy, brown, 0.1, cm eaten by birds and small mammals, leaves eaten by rabbits and small mammals (Martin et al. 1951; Hawthorn 1974; Uva et al. 1997).
Frequency in NYC: Common.
Wetland status: FACU.
Habitat: Very common weed in lawns, roadsides, ball fields, mowed areas with short vegetation, fill. Intolerant of shade.
Notes: Attacked by numerous insects including; a leaf hopper (Macrosteles fascifrons, Homoptera) a flea beetle (Dibolia borealis, Coleoptera), and leaf miners (Liromyza sp.; Phytomyza sp., Diptera). Infected by several fungi including: Peronospora alta (Phycomycetes), Erysiphe cichoracearum, Mycosphaerella tassiana (Ascomycetes); Ceratobasidium anceps (Basidiomycetes); Phyllestricta plantaginicola, P. plantaginis, Septoria plantaginea (Fungi Imperfecti) and by Aster yellows virus (Hawthorne 1974).