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 Linaria subsp. var.  
Linaria vulgaris
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Plantaginaceae > Linaria var. ,

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Linaria (linum, flax, which the lvs. of some species resemble). Scrophulariaceae. Low herbs, sometimes subshrubs, several species cultivated for the oddly irregular flowers and others for the festooning foliage.

Annual, biennial, perennial: lvs. alternate, or sometimes subverticillate, in the erect-growing species mostly narrow and entire: fls. solitary in the axils, or in terminal racemes, yellow, white, blue or purple; corolla personate or grinning, 2-lipped, usually 1- spurred at the base (in rare or so-called peloria states 5-spurred); stamens 4, ascending in 2 pairs, slender; style 1: fr. a dry caps., opening by slits or pores near the summit, many-seeded.—Widely distributed, mostly in temperate parts of the northern hemisphere, of more than 100 species and with many hybrids. Occasionally the fls. of the common toad flax (Linaria vulgaris) are regular. When Linnaeus discovered this form, he took the plant to be of another kind and used for it the genus Peloria. This word Peloria is now used generically for the regular state of any normally irregular fl. Such monstrosities occur now and then, particularly in the Scrophulariaceae.

In America, linarias are little known as garden plants, although they are worthy of greater attention. They are of two general classes,—the hardy perennials (sometimes evergreen) and the annuals. The perennials are propagated by seeds and by division, usually the latter. All the species are of easiest culture in any ordinary soil and exposure, and are largely able to shift for themselves when once established. The annuals may be started indoors; or in warm situations they may be sown where the plants are to stand. Some of the trailing and cespitose species are good for rock-gardens.

L Broussonnettii, Chav. (L. multi-punctata, Hoffmgg.). Low annual, with yellow, black-spotted fls., orange on the palate, and lanceolate or linear lvs.: 5-8 in. high, mostly upright. Spain.—L. canadensis, Dum.,is a weedy native plant, of no value to the garden, although sometimes making a considerable show in fields in spring: it is annual or biennial, strict, 1-2 ft., with very small blue fls. I globdea, Hort. Described as making close rounded masses, with glaucous-green lvs. and lilac fls. L. Cymbalaria(?).—L. hepaticaefolia, Steud. A good alpine, making a very low mat: fls. purple: lvs. cordate or reniform, lobed. Corsica, Sardinia.—L. multipunctata, Hoffmgg.-L. Broussonettii.—L. Pancici, Hort (not Janka), is said to be abeautiful dwarf species with large canary yellow fls. And narrow-lanceolate lvs, from the Orient.-L.petraea, Jord. Low plant with rose coloured fls. tinged violet and yellow on the tip. Eu.-L. saxatilis, Hoffmgg. & Link. Rockwork perennial, trailing with hickish lanceolate lvs., and yellow fls. in short clusters. Spain. L. H. B.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Linaria is a genus of about 100 species of herbaceous annuals and perennials that was traditionally placed in the foxglove family Scrophulariaceae. Due to new genetic research, it has now been placed in the vastly expanded family Plantaginaceae. The genus is native to temperate regions of Europe, northern Africa and Asia, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region.

The members of this genus are known in English as toadflax, a name shared with several related genera. The scientific name means "resembling Linum" (flax), which the foliage of some species superficially resembles.

Closely related genera include the Nuttallanthus (American toadflaxes, recently split from Linaria), Antirrhinum (snapdragons) and Cymbalaria (Ivy-leaved toadflaxes).



Pests and diseases


Selected species
Linaria Canadensis growing wild in East Gippsland Australia

Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) is a European species which is widely introduced elsewhere. The yellow and orange flowers are seen in many waste places. The species is also know n in some areas as "butter-and-eggs".

Broomleaf Toadflax or Dalmatian Toadflax (Linaria genistifolia, syn. L. dalmatica) is a native of southeast Europe that has become a weed in parts of North America.

Purple Toadflax (Linaria purpurea) is native to the Mediterranean region, and is a popular garden plant, with erect stems up to 1 m tall when fully mature, with numerous dark purple or pink flowers.

Pale Toadflax (Linaria repens) from west Europe is similar to L. purpurea, but has more pale colored flowers.

Since Linaria species are toxic to livestock, the plants are regarded as noxious weeds. However, toadflaxes are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the Mouse Moth, and the common buckeye.


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