'Plantain' is from the French word meaning 'sole of the foot' referring to the plant's flat leaves.
Plantains were once highly esteemed medicinal herbs. Leaves were used to treat bites, stings, cuts, sore feet, and ailments of the eyes, tongue, and mouth.
Young plantain leaves are used in China and Japan as a vegetable similar to spinach.
Birds are fond of plantain seeds, which contain a higher percentage of oil than many seeds and are grown commercially and included in some bird seed mixtures.