One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A low-growing plant which typically has a rosette of leaves and a slender green flower spike, occurring widely as a weed of lawns.
- ‘The frequent salt marshes that are found at the water's edge contain such species as saltmarsh cord grass, marsh meadow grass, spike grass, wild barley, sea lavender and sea plantain, all of which are resistant to the salty water.’
- ‘Look out for sudden appearances of weeds such as dandelion and plantain in your lawn.’
- ‘The composition is punctuated by dramatic rocks, pine, bamboo and flowering prunus, plantain, rose and willow.’
- ‘In Dubautia plantagina, the parallel-veined leaves are reminiscent of those of the common North American weed known as plantain.’
- ‘Crabgrass and plantain are an indication of acidic soil, while wood asters and poppies prefer alkaline soil (not as common in our area as acidic soil).’
- ‘For me, vinegar has knocked out Canada thistle, dandelion, plantain and burdock.’
- ‘Two wildflowers that are striking because of their white-striped leaves are giant rattlesnake plantain and white-veined wintergreen.’
- ‘What girl child has not, during the warm summer months of her youth, played in the out of doors making weed soup from plantain leaves, grass, marigolds, any green or blooming thing.’
- ‘This caterpillar is gardener-friendly because it eats weeds such as plantain.’
Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin plantago, plantagin-, from planta ‘sole of the foot’ (because of its broad prostrate leaves).
1A banana containing high levels of starch and little sugar, which is harvested green and widely used as a cooked vegetable in the tropics.
- ‘Some varieties of bananas, such as plantains, are nonsweet and starchy like a potato.’
- ‘The Gabonese produce enough bananas, plantains, sugar, and soap to export to nearby cities, but 90 percent of the food is imported.’
- ‘A fermented beverage called mishla or wasak is made from ripe plantains and bananas mashed together with corn, palm fruits, and other ingredients, and mixed with water.’
- ‘On the coast, there is great dependence on bananas and green plantains.’
- ‘She and her husband especially enjoy rice with heavy gravy; iyan, a dish made with pounded yam mixed with other vegetables; and fried plantains.’
- ‘All the mains are served with rice and peas, a Jamaican staple (the rice is cooked in coconut milk with, confusingly, kidney beans), plantain and a basic salad.’
- ‘A typical Creole dish is stewed chicken, white rice, red beans, fried plantains, and homemade ginger beer.’
- ‘Their diet also includes a variety of fruits such as plantains, bananas, and mangoes.’
- ‘Dietary staples include rice, fish, green bananas, plantains (which resemble bananas), and coconut milk.’
- ‘Along with ‘ground provisions’ such as sweet potato, yam, and green plantains, it is used in African and East Indian ceremonies.’
- ‘Do not use small yellow bananas, use only plantains, which must always be cooked prior to eating.’
- ‘Bananas are typically thought of as a dessert course while the starchy plantains are cooked before eating and are considered a major staple of the tropic countries.’
- ‘Vegetables like plantains, pumpkins and cucumbers were also on display.’
- ‘Among Creoles, rice and red kidney beans are the staples, often with fried bananas or plantains.’
- ‘Another favorite dish is sancocho, a stew made with local meats and vegetables, often including plantains.’
- ‘Olla de carne, the traditional stew, is made with beef, potatoes, corn, plantains, squash, yucca, and other vegetables.’
- ‘The inhabitants of the forest area subsist on cassava, bananas, plantains, palm-nut-oil, forest caterpillars, and the leaf of a wild plant (koko).’
- ‘The cuisine is based on tropical root crops, plantains, and bananas, with fish as the most common source of protein.’
- ‘Bananas and plantains are the staple food for half a billion people, grown by farmers in 120 countries.’
- ‘Bananas and plantains are central to rural diets, and are prepared in a variety of ways.’
2The plant which bears the plantain.
- ‘Blue curtains practically conceal the glass walls and much real ivy and plantains are in evidence, as well as jardinières around the perimeter.’
- ‘The fungus attacks all major varieties of bananas and plantains, turning the leaves a mottled yellow, brown and black, hindering photosynthesis.’
- ‘Hit by stagnating prices, thousands of growers have cut down their banana trees and replaced them with plantains or arrowroot.’
- ‘Tree trunks of green banana or plantain stood in ranks, some as tall as me.’
- ‘Excerpts from these will inscribed, along with Chinese ghost stories, on the leaves of a plantain palm - a tree said to attract ghosts in China - installed at the Fruitmarket.’
Mid 16th century: from Spanish plá(n)tano, probably by assimilation of a South American word to the Spanish plá(n)tano ‘plane tree’.
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