A short rosette-forming herb with leathery ribbed leaves sprouting from the base of the plant. In grazed or mown turf, and over winter, the leaves are rounded and flattened to the ground, but in meadows and taller grassland the leaves grow upwards and are elongated in shape (lanceolate). Stubby brown flower heads with whitish anthers are borne on plain unbranched and leafless stalks. Flower stalks are produced throughout the summer.
Ribwort plantain is a perennial herb whose palatable leaves and seeds provide valuable mineral-rich forage for grazing stock and wildlife. Plantain contains a range of biologically active compounds, often in large quantities. The antimicrobial compounds present can inhibit rumen fermentation and change the volatile fatty acid composition of the rumen. These changes have potential to affect bloat, animal performance and milk composition.
Its contribution to the productivity of a sward is perhaps one reason, along with its leaf form, farmers regard it as an honorary grass and call it ‘Ribgrass’. In the past it was valued and often sown in pasture seed mixtures.
Whilst stocks allow the ribwort plantain we are supplying in grazing mixtures and for livestock use is the the same wild form that we supply in wild flower mixtures.