FIGWORT FAMILY - ScrophulariaceaŽ: Blue or Wild Toadflax; Blue Linaria

Linaria canadensis

Flowers--Pale blue to purple, small, irregular, in slender spikes. Calyx 5 pointed;-corolla 2-lipped, with curved spur longer than its tube, which is nearly closed by a white, 2-ridged projection or palate; the upper lip erect, 2-lobed; lower lip 3-lobed, spreading. Stamens 4, in pairs, in throat; 1 pistil. Stem: Slender, weak, of sterile shoots, prostrate; flowering stem, ascending or erect, 4 in. to 2 ft. high. Leaves: Small, linear, alternately scattered along stem, or oblong in pairs or threes on leafy sterile shoots.

Preferred Habitat--Dry soil, gravel or sand.

Flowering Season--May-October.

Distribution--North, Central, and South Americas.

Wolf, rat, mouse, sow, cow, cat, snake, dragon, dog, toad, are among the many animal prefixes to the names of flowers that the English country people have given for various and often most interesting reasons. Just as dog, used as a prefix, expresses an idea of worthlessness to them, so toad suggests a spurious plant; the toadflax being made to bear what is meant to be an odious name because before flowering it resembles the true flax, linum, from which the generic title is derived.