Saturday, September 17, 2011

Toadflax: Butter and Eggs

Toadflax     © SB 

Toadflax, with its bright yellow and orange flowers, was apparently introduced to North America as a garden plant. (Vance/Jowsey) This perennial prairie wildflower, also called Linaria or Butter and Eggs, is said to be a common weed in abandoned gardens, as well as ditches and roadsides.

While butter and eggs represent the colours, there are several theories for its strange name, Toadflax. In Prairie Beauty, Jennings explains that in early English, "toad" meant "false" or "useless" — so perhaps the name derives from the similarity of the leaves to Flax. Or, he continues, perhaps the flower looked like a toad's mouth to some.

Its uses? Jennings says among other things, it was used in early Europe to treat eye infections, and boiled in milk to make a poison for flies.

Prairie Wildflower: Toadflax or Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris) 
Location: Along roadside in Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area, Saskatchewan.  
Photo Date:  September 17, 2011.

Toadflax, showing slender leaves 
and end of season flowers   © SB 


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