The beautiful yellow and orange flower spikes of this extremely common and homely named perennial are too well known and too little appreciated to warrant an extended description. Its colour scheme is "butter-and-eggs," all right, at least according to the chemistry of the breakfast table and of the kitchen at baking time. This plant is naturalized in this country from Europe, and is supposed to possess healing powers that country people still regard with much simple faith. The flowers have been steeped and used in cases of dropsy, jaundice, and various skin effections. The fresh plant has been bruised and applied as a poultice on boils, and the flowers are made into an ointment that is used for the same purpose, as well as for other skin eruptions. In Germany, the flowers are used as a yellow dye. Country folks used the juice in milk as a fly-poison. It is a very leafy perennial, having short rootstocks, and growing erect from one to three feet in height. The usually single, slender stalk is round and smooth, light green in colour, and has a whitish bloom. The long, narrow, grass-like leaves taper to a point at both ends, and they clasp the stalk alternately. The colour is pale green, and the midrib extends the entire length. The light yellow, two-lipped, tubular flower has a long, sharp, outward curved spur at its base. The two earlike lobes of the upper lip are elevated, and prettily curved over the lower one. The spreading lower lip has three unequal outward-curving lobes; the centre one being the smallest, and at the throat, this lip has a great, orange-coloured, tongue-like swelling that nearly closes the tube, and hides the four unequal stamens and pistil, which are flattened against the upper lip. The throat, which can be seen by spreading apart the jaw-like lips of the flattened corolla, is lined with a silky down. The light green, five-parted calyx is very small. The flowers are hung on short stems springing from the axils of the leaflets, and are closely gathered in a dense terminal spike. This plant has an unattractive odour, and is found growing most everywhere in fields, pastures, and along roadsides, ditches and banks, often in small colonies, from June to October, from Canada to Virginia, and Nebraska.
BUTTER AND EGGS. TOADFLAX. Linaria vulgaris.