plantain, n. [Cf. F. plantain-arbre, plantanier, Sp. plántano, plátano; prob. same word as plane tree.].
A treelike perennial herb (Musa paradisiaca
) of tropical regions, bearing immense leaves and large clusters of the fruits called plantains
. See Musa
. [1913 Webster
The fruit of this plant. It is long and somewhat cylindrical, slightly curved, and, when ripe, soft, fleshy, and covered with a thick but tender yellowish skin. The plantain is a staple article of food in most tropical countries, especially when cooked. [1913 Webster]
Plantain cutter, or Plantain eater (Zoöl.), any one of several large African birds of the genus Musophaga, or family Musophagidæ, especially Musophaga violacea. See Turaco. They are allied to the cuckoos. -- Plantain squirrel (Zoöl.), a Java squirrel (Sciurus plantani) which feeds upon plantains. -- Plantain tree (Bot.), the treelike herb Musa paradisiaca. See def. 1 (above).
[F., fr. L. plantago
. Cf. Plant
Indian plantain. (Bot.) See under Indian. -- Mud plantain, a homely North American aquatic plant (Heteranthera reniformis), having broad, reniform leaves. -- Rattlesnake plantain, an orchidaceous plant (Goodyera pubescens), with the leaves blotched and spotted with white. -- Ribwort plantain. See Ribwort. -- Robin's plantain, the Erigeron bellidifolium, a common daisylike plant of North America. -- Water plantain, a plant of the genus Alisma, having acrid leaves, and formerly regarded as a specific against hydrophobia. Loudon.
Any plant of the genus Plantago, but especially the Plantago major, a low herb with broad spreading radical leaves, and slender spikes of minute flowers. It is a native of Europe, but now found near the abode of civilized man in nearly all parts of the world. [1913 Webster]