Plantain, black psyllium, blond psyllium, fleaseed, French psyllium, Indian plantago, plantago, psyllium, psyllium seed, ribgrass, ribwort, Spanish psyllium.
A low, weedy perennial, with broadly elliptical to linear, prominently ribbed leaves. Flowers grow tightly at apex on erect spikes.
March to October.
Roadsides, dooryards, lawns, poor soils, fields, and woods.
Seeds and leaves.
The seeds are valuable as a bulk laxative. Soaking the seed in water causes it to exude a clear sticky gum, which has been used in manufacturing lotions and hair-wave sets. Some authorities report that the leaves are used as a vulnerary. In Appalachia, wet leaves of the plant are used as a poultice for snakebite and wounds; crushed fresh leaves are rubbed on wounds and skin eruptions, and are used for treating rectal itch. In Appalachia the leaves are used to make a tonic tea.