This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
We have already dealt with one species of Toadflax (see page 33), and although in habit the Ivy-leaved is altogether unlike the Yellow Toadflax, their flowers will be found to have the same structure, and we must ask the reader to refer back for the description. The Yellow Toadflax (L. vulgaris) immediately reminds one of the Snapdragon (Anterrhinum\ to which its raceme of flowers, bears close resemblance; but the flowers themselves will be found to differ from Snapdragon in having a long tail or spur. This spur is a hollow tube in which honey is secreted to attract long-tongued bees, in order that they may fertilize the ovules. The plant has a slender rootstock, which creeps extensively underground, branching and sending up many stems. If these get into a garden the owner is at first delighted with the neat, bright appearance of the tufts of linear leaves; but by-and-by he finds it has taken entire possession of the bed, and become extremely difficult to extirpate. It is abundant in hedges and waste places, flowering from June till October. Other species are:
I. Round-leaved Toadflax (L. spuria) with egg-shaped or round leaves and trailing branches: hairy. Corolla yellow, with purple throat and spur greatly curved. Annual. Sandy cornfields. July to October.
II. Sharp-pointed Toadflax (L. elatine), with spear-shaped leaves and trailing hairy branches. Corolla yellow, upper lip purple beneath. Spur straight. Annual. Dry, chalky and gravelly cornfields. July to October.
III. Pale-blue Toadflax (L. repens). Perennial. Smooth. Rootstock creeping. Leaves narrowly lance-shaped. Corolla violet, with darker lines and yellow palate : spur blunt. Waste places, rare. July to September.
IV. Small Toadflax (L. minor). Annual. Downy. Leaves narrowly oblong. Corolla but slightly larger than the calyx, purple, the lower lip white, and the palate yellow. Local, in sandy and chalky cornfields. From May to October.
Common Toadflax. Linaria vulgaris.
- Scrophularineae. -