The name comes from the Latin plantago, which itself comes from planta, meaning the sole of the foot and referring to the foot-shaped leaves. Another group of names, including the German name, is descended from the Anglo-Saxon wegbreed, meaning ‘growing by the wayside’, which turned into ‘waybread’ in the sense of food for travellers. Travellers would soon weary of a diet of plantain, although there are several species whose leaves, gathered when young and tender, are edible. One of them, P. coronopus, buckshorn plantain, qualifies as an element in the mixed salad of wild greens known as misticanza in Italy and has indeed been cultivated on a small scale in some European countries. Couplan (1984), the optimistic French authority on edible wild plants, avers that more than one species can be used either fresh in a salad or cooked in a soup.