Sp. Pl. 1: 113. 1753.
Perennials; caudex hairy or glabrous; roots fibrous, slender. Stems 0–20 mm. Leaves 30–300 × 5–25(–45) mm; blade lanceolate to oblanceolate, margins entire or toothed, veins conspicuous, surfaces glabrous or sericeous. Scapes 300–400 mm, groove-angled, hairy. Spikes grayish, whitish, or yellowish, (5–)100–450(–1000) mm, usually shorter than scape, densely flowered, shiny; corolla lobes of neighboring flowers often overlapping; bracts broadly ovate, 2 mm, length 0.8–1 times sepals. Flowers: sepals 2–2.5 mm, adaxial 2 connate; corolla radially symmetric, lobes reflexed, 2–2.5 mm, base obtuse; stamens 4. Seeds (1 or)2, 2–3(–4) mm. 2n = 12.
Phenology: Flowering summer.
Habitat: Roadsides, trails, lawns, urban areas, other disturbed sites.
Elevation: 0–3200 m.
Introduced; Greenland, St. Pierre and Miquelon, B.C., N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Ala., Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo., Europe, introduced also in Central America, South America, Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia.
Plantago lanceolata is known from historic collections in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The name Plantago altissima Linnaeus sometimes has been misapplied to North American plants of P. lanceolata.