Plantago ovata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Plantago ovata Forssk.

Protologue: Fl. aegypt.-arab.: 31 (1775).

Vernacular names

  • Flea seed, blond psyllium (En).


South-eastern Spain, northern Africa, western Asia to Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan; much cultivated in India and locally introduced in South-East Asia as medicinal plant, e.g. in Thailand.


The mucilage obtained from the seeds is widely used as laxative. It can also be used as a gelling agent for tissue culture.


A small annual or sometimes perennial herb up to 15(-20) cm tall; leaves in one or few rosettes, linear-lanceolate to linear, 2-12 cm × 0.1-0.8 cm, entire or distantly denticulate, sparsely to densely villous-lanate; spike 0.5-3.5 cm long, dense, bracts suborbicular to ovate, about 3 mm long; fruit about 3 mm long, 2-seeded; seeds boat-shaped, 2-2.5 mm long, smooth and yellowish-brown to pale greyish-pink. P. ovata occurs in dry regions, and is cultivated on poor to moderately fertile sandy soils.

Selected sources

147, 193, 287, 411, 525, 549, 1012, 1125, 1566.


Lilis Pangemanan