This plant can be found throughout the world — in open fields and waste places. It’s English plantain (Plantago lanceolata). The flowering spike is commonly used in child’s play while the leaves have medicinal uses as well as nutritional value.
Here are the leaves of two English plantains during the cold weather season, when they remain small and lie close to the ground.
Flowers grow in a tight group along a spike. The flowers bloom from the bottom to the top of the spike. This next image shows a group of flower spikes — still blooming although they are past their prime flowering stage.
Watch this video to see very close views of the two types of flowers to be found on English plantain (Plantago lanceolata), to learn the meaning of “scape,” and to find out how this plant is pollinated.
Also, check out this study which compares English plantain with Common plantain (P. major).