Plantago lanceolata L. is a common grassland and roadside plant, widely used in many
countries in food and herbal preparations. In this study, samples of this wild plant
were collected from rural, suburban/urban, and industrial environments; the concentrations
of As, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, P, Pb, V, and Zn were measured in the edible parts
of the plant (leaves), in the roots, and in the soils in order to calculate the bioaccumulation
and translocation factors. The data obtained were compared with literature data available.
Except for samples collected near mines and smelting plants, where Cd, Pb, and Zn
concentrations were up to 15 times higher, in all other cases, no differences were
observed with respect to samples from rural areas, except for Pb concentration, which
was 3 times higher in urban areas. In the samples collected in our study area, the
metal content does not pose particular health risks; however, even within a quite
restricted region like the investigated area, high metal concentrations, possibly
due to the presence of particular substrates, were observed in some samples collected
from areas considered clean and suitable for wild food plant gathering.