In the Wild
Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major)
*Also known as common plantain and dooryard plantain
Narrow-leaf Plantain (P. lanceolata)
*Also known as buckhorn plantain and English plantain
First of all, these plants are not related to the banana of the same name. The two plantains included in this book can be found in lawns, meadows, marginal areas, and along roadsides. Both were used medicinally and brought to North America by European settlers.
Broadleaf plantain has a rosette of wide, ribbed leaves that grow close to the ground. The upright stalk has a long, cylindrical flower spike that can be two to six inches long. The phallic appearance of the flower spike caused the plant to be regarded as an aphrodisiac. As expected, the narrow-leaf plantain has narrow, lance-shaped leaves and a tall, thin stalk that holds a dense flower spike one to two inches long. When I was a child, the name we used for the broadleaf plantain was dog ears.
Although these resilient plants are generally thought of as weeds, plantains were once regarded as magical herbs. The Anglo-Saxons considered them important and sacred. Plantains can be used in charms to enhance magical power. As you gather these plants, state what you want to achieve to set your magical purpose. The root can be dried and carried as an amulet to repel negativity and subdue fears. Placed under the bed, it can ward off bad dreams. All parts of the plant can aid in grounding energy after ritual or magic work.
Plantain is associated with the element earth, and its astrological influence comes from Venus and the fixed star Arcturus.