In contrast to the long flower spikes of Greater Plantain, the short, oval flower heads of Ribwort Plantain appear as if balanced on the top of their thin, wiry stems. Ribwort Plantain is a plant of grasslands, field edges and cultivated ground and tracks, and regularly pops up in lawns as a 'weed'. It flowers between April and October, but its seedheads remain for most of the winter providing food for Goldfinches and other seed-eating birds.
How to identify
Ribwort Plantain has spear-shaped leaves which form a rosette at the base of the plant. Short stems grow from its leaves, with compact heads and protruding, white stamens. The flower heads gradually turn brown and seed.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
Many of our so-called 'weeds' are beneficial to wildlife, providing food for nectar-loving insects and shelter for minibeasts. Try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of Ribwort Plantain and Red Clover in your lawn and Stinging Nettles near the compost heap, and see who comes to visit... To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.