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Yellow Toadflax

yellow toadflax, photo credit: Brian Ostwald Yellow Toadflax flower, photo credit: Alan WaldenYellow Toadflax flower stem, photo credit: © 2009 Heather CuthillYellow Toadflax seed pods, photo credit: Doug WaylettYellow Toadflax plant, photo credit: Jane Halley

(Linaria vulgaris)

Common Names

butter and eggs, wild snapdragon, common toadflax, ramsted, flaxweed, Jacob's ladder


Yellow toadflax is a perennial plant introduced to North America as an ornamental. Unlike Dalmatian toadflax, yellow toadflax only grows to a height of one to two feet and plants have multiple stems. Seedlings of yellow toadflax resemble leafy spurge at young stages, but do not produce a milky sap when broken. Leaves are numerous, pale green to gray-green in color, narrow and pointed at both ends and have smooth margins. They are alternately arranged on the stem. The showy, snapdragon type flower grows on stalks in dense clusters of fifteen to twenty at the ends of the stems. Flowers are pale to bright yellow with orange throats and a downward pointing yellow spur that can be up to an inch long. Flowers bloom from June to July. Seeds are winged, brown, oval capsules with two chambers, each housing several seeds. Each toadflax plant can produce up to 30,000 seeds annually. Yellow toadflax has an extensive horizontal root system and it reproduces through creeping roots or by seed.

Key Features

Bright yellow and orange snapdragon-type flowers; grows in patches due to an extensive, connected root system.


Yellow toadflax prefers sites with well-drained sandy or gravelly soils, but soils will likely be moist as the plant can become stunted in dry conditions. It can be found in a variety of areas including rangeland, pastures, forests, right-of-ways, cultivated fields, gardens and gravel pits.

Currently found in the following counties:

Beaverhead, Broadwater, Carbon, Cascade, Chouteau, Daniels, Deer Lodge, Fallon, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis & Clark, Liberty,  Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Musselshell, Park, Phillips, Pondera, Powell, Ravalli, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass,Teton, Valley, Wheatland, Yellowstone.


Interesting Facts

The term butter and eggs comes from the flowers of which yellow resembles butter and the orange resembles egg yolks. Yellow toadflax has been used for medicinal purposes with digestive and urinary tract disorders and used topically as an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and to treat skin rashes.

Commonly Confused Plants

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Photo Credits: Brian Ostwald; Alan Walden; © 2009 Heather Cuthill; Doug Waylett; Jane Halley

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