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Buckhorn Plantian (Plantago lanceolata)

Crop Impacts: Pastures, alfalfa and clovers

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About Buckhorn Plantain:

Buckhorn Plantain can be either an annual, biennial, or perennial broadleaf weed. This particular weed has a very high tolerance to drought and to soil with heavy levels of metal.

Family: Plantaginaceae family

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Buckhorn Plantain Scouting and Prevention:

Seedling Buckhorn Plantain has cotyledons fused at the bottom, they are hairless and needlelike. The first few leaves are oblong, narrow in shape and are about 4/5 to 1 ½ inches long. A mature plant has leaves that look similar to footballs and are about 3 to 10 inches long and typically have short hair. The dark green leaves are smooth with prominent veins and a sharp tip. Buckhorn Plantain has a very short stem with leaves that spiral around the base of the stem. A unique feature of a broadleaf plantain weed is that it is stemless, except for flowering, leafless stalks that stand about 2 feet tall. At the top of these stalks are male flowers in tight clusters, resembling a bullet. When the flowers bloom in April to October, they have little white stamens (male flower parts).

Common locations

  • - Gardens
  • - Turf
  • - Pastures
  • - Alfalfa
  • - Cloves


Prevention of Buckhorn Plantain is less expensive and less time-consuming then trying to control it. Make sure when you seed a new area that you do so with certified weed-free seeds. If there is an infested area on your property, be sure to drive around instead of through it. Make sure to give all equipment that has been in infested fields a good clean to make sure no seeds are transferred. For your lawn, the best prevention is having a full, healthy aerate lawn. If there is less than 1inch of rain in a week make sure to give your lawn a deep watering.

Pre-emergent treatment of herbicides can also work well. In alfalfa fields, hexazinone has been seen to have success in control established Buckhorn Plantain from germinating.

Buckhorn Plantain Control:

Cultural Control

Culturally controlling this weed by pulling it out by hand can be effective if you pull out the short tap root to prevent regrowth. It is important to note that you may have to go back to infested areas a few times to pull out new Buckhorn Plantain to achieve total control.

Chemical Control

For an area with higher infestation, application of post-emergent herbicides applied during the fall when the plants are moving nutrients to the roots is the most effective. Where it is safe to spray 2,4-D on pastures and cloves, it is strongly suggested to do so to reduce the potency of the Buckhorn Plantain. Preen Weed Control, a granular broadleaf killer, can control widespread outbreaks. For areas where there is infestation in ornamental and edible gardens, Preen Vegetable Garden Organic Weed Preventer stops Buckhorn Plantain from germinating. If you are looking to sport treat small areas with herbicides, glyphosate does the trick. Be sure not to apply herbicides on windy days or when the temperature is over 29°C.

Latin / Alternative Buckhorn Plantain names:

  • - Plantago lanceolata

Additional Buckhorn Plantain Resources