Linaria vulgaris

Common Toadflax

Botanical description: Linaria vulgaris is one of the earliest foreign plants noted to naturalize in New England. Perhaps introduced as an ornamental garden flower, the plant spread to develop colonies in areas not regularly disturbed, such as pastures and orchards, as described by John Bartram, an American botanist in 1759. Common Toadflax thrives in lean, gravelly, and compacted soils, slowly increasing in number through its creeping roots, similar to rhizomes. In addition, toadflax or butter and eggs as it is colloquially known, is tolerant of road salt, which makes this delicate-looking plant a tough urban competitor. It is often found along the seams between sidewalks and fences in addition to other places ill-suited to most plants. Linaria is related to the snapdragon, clearly seen in the slender, pale yellow flowers with an orange throat that can be made to talk by squeezing its back. The clusters of flowers are found at the ends of stalks clothed in attractive grey, needle-like leaves – so closely set together to appear whorled around the stem. Toadflax has a well-established history of medicinal uses in Europe including being a treatment for jaundice, edema, and liver problems. It’s known to have powerful qualities as a diuretic or purgative.



Place of Origin