Survival Manual

Dandelions Wild Edible Food

Dwarf Plantain
Dwarf Plantain (Plantago virginica) is a plant that consists of a small rosette of leaves at its base. From this leafy base emerges a single flowering spike. The basal leaves are 3-6 inches (7.6-15 cm) long and about half as wide. These leaves vary a bit in shape, but always have from 3-5 parallel veins and a smooth margin to the leaves. The topside of the leaves have small white hairs. The lower leaf surface of dwarf plantain has a woolly texture with longer white hairs along the veins.

The dwarf plantain has a range that extends from Washinton to Maine to Florida and most places inbetween.

The flowering spike can grow to about 8 inches tall but is usually a little shorter and the spike does not branch. The upper two-thirds of each spike is covered with small flowers. The lower portion of the spike often has hairs and can turn reddish near the bottom. Each flower can turn into an individual seed, which is the way that dwarf plantain propugates.

Dwarf Plantain likes dry conditions in full sun and is quite tolerant of sandy and rocky soils.

Dwarf Plantain is an edible plant, but as the plant (virtually any plant) get older they become much less desirable as a food source. The greens are useful in the spring and the seeds later in the summer after the plants because a bit nasty to eat. Dwarf plantain leaves can make a good salad raw or can be cooked as greens and placed in soups and stews. The seeds can be eaten raw.

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