Eastern Forest Threat Center - Yellow Toadflax

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Yellow toadflax plant

Yellow toadflax plant

Michael Shephard, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Yellow Toadflax
Linaria vulgaris

Yellow toadflax is native to southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia. It was introduced into the U.S. during the late 1600s as an ornamental.

Keywords: Scrophulariaceae, perennial, herbaceous, clumps; Common names: butter-and-eggs, wild snapdragon, common toadflax, ramsted, flaxweed, Jacob's ladder

Distribution Map Distribution Source Image

Threat Description

Yellow toadflax is a perennial herbaceous plant in the figwort family that grows to a height of 1-2 ft. Plants have multiple smooth stems and grow in clumps from the rootstalks. Leaves are simple, alternate, grey-green, lance shaped, pointed, 1-2 ½ in. long, and smooth. Flowers resembling snapdragons bloom from July to late September. They are yellow with a dull orange center and occur in clusters of 15-20 on each stem. The fruit is an egg-shaped capsule with two locules and many seeds. Seeds are winged, disk-shaped, dark brown to black, and viable in soil for up to 8 years. A mature plant can produce up to 30,000 wind- and water-dispersed seeds annually from July to October. Plants reproduce both by seed and creeping rhizomes. Yellow toadflax prefers moist soil and may become stunted in dry conditions. It occurs in a wide variety of habitats such as roadsides, fields, waste areas, railroad yards, rangeland, pastures, cultivated fields, meadows, forest edges, and gardens. It is a problem in disturbed areas, especially those with sandy, gravelly, or chalky soils. The aggressive nature of this plant and its ability to form large colonies allows it to crowd out other vegetation.