Blue Toadflax / Linaria canadensis

It’s No Mow Monday! This is our spring series on the native plants that are often considered “weeds” but can play an important ecological role in the urban landscape if allowed to grow. These early spring wildflowers provide nectar and pollen to native bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.

Blue Toadflax / Linaria canadensis in bloom on a roadside in urban Orange County. Photo by Mary Keim.

Today we are highlighting Linaria canadensis, Blue Toadflax. While neither particularly blue nor a member of the flax / Linaceae family, this lithe wildflower has delicate, bumpy flowers that are attractive to smaller butterflies and bees. Its small lavender and white flowers start blooming from top to bottom in February and March with the ornamental golden seedheads blowing in the breezes now. Blue Toadflax is found throughout Florida and is a common volunteer in lawns and roadsides, as well as in intact native habitats.

Blue Toadflax / Linaria canadensis at the Orlando Wetlands Park. Photo by Mary Keim.

This dainty annual and occasionally biennial wildflower is highly adaptable to a variety of growing conditions and propagates readily through self-seeding, often forming a photogenic visual monoculture in historically-disturbed areas.

Blue Toadflax / Linaria canadensis seedheads with a cricket in suburban Osceola County. Photo by Valerie Anderson.

Don't let the lack of big juicy leaves fool you, it can still feed caterpillars: it's a host plant for the Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).
 
Blue Toadflax isn't available at native nurseries yet, but seeds are available from the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative.
 
Blue Toadflax is in the Plantaginaceae / plantain family along with the wet Smooth Waterhyssop / Bacopa monnieri, the flat-until-its-not Dwarf Plantain / Plantago virginica, and our suite of gorgeous native Beardtongues / Penstemon sp.

More info in our native plant database: https://www.fnps.org/plant/linaria-canadensis

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wednesday's Wildflower:Spanish Needle

Australian Pine: One of Florida's Least Wanted

Florida Native Plant Society Position on Monarchs and Milkweeds