PLANTAIN (Lat. plantago), a name given to certain plants with broad leaves. This is the case with certain species of Plantago, Alisma and Musa, to all of which the term is popularly applied. The species of Plantago are mostly weeds with a dense tuft of radical leaves and scapes bearing terminal spikes of small flowers; the long spikes of P. major, when in seed, are used for feeding cage-birds; P. lanceolata, so called from its narrow lanceolate 3-6-ribbed leaves, is popularly known as ribwort; Alisma P. is the water-plantain, so called from the resemblance of its broad ribbed aerial leaves to those of P. major. The tropical fruit known as plantain belongs to the genus Musa (see BANANA).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)