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Wildflower Wednesday

Yellow Toadflax has many known as names including Butter-and-eggs, Wild snapdragon, Eggs-and-bacon, Jacob's ladder Ramsted and Flaxweed.

Why the odd name? Some thought that the flowers resemble a toad’s head, others believed that toads were known to rest under them. Its leaves resemble the leaves of the flax plant.

It is a nonnative plant brought here in the mid-1800’s and is considered an invasive species in WI. It can grow almost anywhere and is often found on roadsides, abandoned lots, prairies and in flowerbeds.

It is considered invasive because is an aggressive spreader and very difficult to get rid of once it is established. Its roots can extend up to 10 feet and give rise to new plants every few inches. Root fragments as little as 1/2″ long can self-produce new plants.

Its flowers have long spurs and that grow in clusters. Because the flowers are closed it is pollinated by larger bumblebees that can use their weight to pull down the flower lip to reach the nectar.

It was used as a yellow dye for centuries in Germany and is still cultivated for this use.

Its juice, when boiled with milk, was used as a fly repellent.

It was believed that carrying toadflax would ward off evil spirits and that spells could be broken by walking around a yellow toadflax in full bloom three times.

According to ancient Greek mythology, the god Apollo fell in love with the nymph Daphne, who turned herself into a linaria (toadflax) plant to avoid his advances.


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