Plantago major, SE: Groblad, DE: Breitwegerich,
NL: Grote weegbree, UK: Broadleaf plantain, Greater plantain

Scientific name:  Plantago major L.
Swedish name:  Groblad
German name:  Breitwegerich
Nederlandse naam:  Grote weegbree
English name:  Broadleaf plantain, Greater plantain
Family:  Plantaginaceae, Plantain family, Grobladsväxter

Sweden Wildflowers and native plants

Life form:  Herbaceous perennial
Stems:  Height 10-50 cm, erect
Leaves:  Rosette; oval-shaped; acute apex, smooth margin; 5-9 conspicuous veins
Inflorescence:  Dense spike 5–15 cm long on top of a stem 13–15 cm tall
Flowers:  Small, greenish-brown flowers; purple stamens
Flowering Period:  June, July, August, September
Fruits:  Capsule 2-3 mm long, globose or subconic, glabrous; seeds, very small, oval-shaped, with a bitter taste
Habitat:  Pastureland, meadows, farmland, buildings
Distribution:  Skåne - Norrland

Plantago major, Groblad, Breitwegerich, Grote weegbree, Broadleaf plantain, Greater plantain

Derivation of the botanical name:
Plantago, plantagin (stem), a "plantain".
major, comparative of magnus: large, great, high, extensive; larger.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
The Norwegian and Swedish people call this plant ‘groblad’, which means ‘healing leaves.’

Anne Berit Samuelsen (Institute of Pharmacy, Oslo, Norway), outlines the historical use of Plantain as a wound healer in her review article on ethnobotany and phytochemistry of Plantago major (2001). She describes:
“The traditional use of P. major in wound healing is quite old. It was described by the Greek physician Dioscorides in ‘De materia medica’ in the first century. The leaves were prescribed for treatment of dog bites (Roca-Garcia, 1972). From the ‘Vølsuga saga’ it is known that the Vikings used P. major leaves for wound healing (Nielsen,1969). P. major was also described in the 12–13thcentury by the Islamic author Ibn El Beithar having adopted the knowledge from Greek medicine (Fleurentin et al., 1983). Henrik Harpestreng († 1244) from Denmark wrote in ‘Liber Harbarum’ that P. major could heal everything that was torn apart. Mixed with honey it was recommended on wounds. Boiled with butter and eaten, it could heal any organ in the human body (Nielsen, 1969).”

Leaves of Plantago major were commonly used in the time of Shakespeare and he has mentioned it in his play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Act I, Scene II from the period 1592–1609:
Romeo: Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.
Benvoleo: For what, I pray thee?
Romeo: For your broken shin
Benvoleo: Why, Romeo, art thou mad?

Plantago major is thus a well-known medicinal plant in many parts of the world, and it has been claimed that superficial wounds can be healed by application of leaf juice (Brondegaard, 1987). Surprisingly few scientific studies have, however, been performed with the aim to clarify the reason for these wound healing properties.

Zweden, Natuur, Reizen, Wilde Flora