Ribwort Plantain Seed Head
Sunrise 08:07 am Sunset: 04:34 pm
This species of plantain growing in every meadow and was a onetime fodder plant. Curtis, in his Flora Londonensis, says:
- ‘The farmers in general consider this species of plantain as a favourite food of sheep and hence it is frequently recommended in the laying down of meadow and pasture land, and the seed is for that purpose kept in the shops.’
Its cultivation was never seriously taken up, for though its mucilaginous leaves are relished by sheep and to a certain extent, by cows and horses, it does not answer as a crop, except on very poor land, where nothing else will grow. Moreover, it is very bitter, and in pastures destroys the more delicate herbage around it by its coarse leaves.
The seeds are covered with a coat of mucilage, which separates readily when macerated in hot water. The gelatinous substance thus formed has been used at one time in France for stiffening some kinds of muslin and other woven fabrics.
The leaves contain a good fibre, which, it has been suggested, might be adapted to some manufacturing purpose.