I decided to paint a magnified version of my specimen of Plantago lanceolata so I could show the beauty and structure of the plant.
It is a rosette forming perennial herb. The leaves are long, narrow and veined. The stems are silky, hairy and carry a single dark and dense many-flowered head. The small flowers have four white sepals with a brown keel in the centre of each, and four brownish petals. The long stamens are pale yellow or white. Each flower lies behind a tiny greenish bract. Its seeds have an absorbent coat, which becomes sticky when wet. The seeds then stick to animal or human feet and can be carried over long distances.
Children today still loop the stalk round the flower head and fire it. This is a game that has been played for centuries.
Ribwort also has many medicinal uses. It is used to treat colds, coughs, bronchial inflammation, also an antidote for bites and insect stings.
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