Toad-Flax; Butter-And-Eggs (Linaria Vulgaris) , although an immigrant, takes so kindly to our land that it has extended its range from the Atlantic to the Pacific and southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a very attractive plant and interesting in many ways. The stem is simple and from 6 to 30 inches, high. The narrow alternating leaves are grayish green, covered with a whitish bloom. As the plants grow often in dense colonies the effect on the landscape is that of a grayish bank, studded with gold and orange jewels.
The tubular, yellow flower has a two-lipped corolla, the upper one being of two lobes and the lower one three, the center one of which extends into a large sac-like spur and has a protruding, pouting, orange palate that closes the throat of the blossom. This arrangement is designed for the bumblebee, whose weight on the lower lip opens the flower so he can get at the nectar, while it is tightly closed to pilfering ants. We find Butter-and-Eggs in bloom during July to October in waste land, along roads and in fields or pastures.
A. Turtle-head. Chelone glabra. B. Beard-tongued. Pentesmon hirsutus.
Many plants derive their names from the fancied resemblance of their flowers to some well known objects. Often these fancies are so far fetched that no one but the authors are able to discover the reason for the name. In this instance the profile view of the blossom really does give a suggestion of the head of a turtle; its generic name, too, is derived from the Greek, meaning a tortoise. Other names applied less often to this species are "Snake-head," "Cod-head" and "Shell Flower." It is a moisture loving plant and is usually found in wet locations in swamps or on the banks of streams or ponds.
The stem is stout, smooth and erect, from 1 to 3 feet tall. The leaves grow oppositely and are lance-shaped, stemmed, pointed and toothed. The flowers are clustered in a short spike at the summit of the stem; the corolla is tubular, about an inch in length and is white, tinged with pink. The upper lip is broad, arched, creased and notched in the middle; the lower lip is three lobed and woolly-bearded in the throat; the corollas are set in five-parted calyces which, in turn, are subtended by leafy bracts. Turtlehead blooms from July until September and ranges from Newfoundland to Manitoba and southwards.
Pentesmon; Beard-Tongue (Pentesmon Hirsutus) has a straight, slender woolly stem that grows from 1 to 3 feet high. The leaves are light green, lance-shaped, rough-edged or minutely toothed, the upper ones seated oppositely on the stem and the lower ones with short petioles. The small magenta-white flowers are in panicled racemes. The trumpet-shaped corolla has two lobes to the upper lip and three on the lower, the throat nearly closed by a hairy palate on the lower lip. Me. to Wisconsin and southwards.
Monkey Flower. Mimulus ringens.