Common Toadflax
Linaria vulgaris P. Mill.
Family: Scrophulariaceae, Figwort
Genus: Linaria
Other names: butter and eggs
Nomenclature: vulgaris = common, ordinary
Nativity / Invasiveness: noxious weed in Montana
Medicinal plant
No edibility data

General: perennial from creeping rhizomes, 20-80 cm tall, ill-smelling, hairless throughout and somewhat with a bluish cast in life.

Leaves: alternate, numerous, linear, 2-10 cm long and 1-5 mm wide, often narrowed toward the base. Small shoots from leaf axils.

Flowers: many in a dense cluster on top of each stem, the cluster at first dense, in age more elongate. Flowers bright light yellow, 20-35 mm long including the nearly straight spur, which is about as long as the rest of the corolla. Lower lip with well-developed, bearded, orange-bearded palate. June-September.

Fruits: capsules, broadly cylindric, 1 cm high. Seeds flattened, winged.


Roadsides, pastures, and disturbed areas, plains to montane zone, in w., c. and se. parts of MT. Native of Eurasia, now widely naturalized in temperate N. America.
Medicinal Uses

Yellow toadflax has a long history of herbal use. It acts mainly on the liver and was once widely employed as a diuretic in the treatment of edema. The whole plant has agents that counteract inflammation, cause tissue to contract, cleanse boils, sores, wounds, etc., purify and cleanse the blood, induce urination, promote the well-being of the liver and increases the secretion of bile, promote healing for disorders and diseases of the eye and are powerful purgatives or laxatives causing severe evacuation. It is gathered when just coming into flower and can be used fresh or dried. The plant is especially valued for its strongly laxative and diuretic activities. It is employed internally in the treatment of edema, jaundice, liver diseases, gall bladder complaints and skin problems. Externally it is applied to hemorrhoids, skin eruptions, sores and malignant ulcers. The plant should be used with caution. It should preferably only be prescribed by a qualified practitioner and should not be given to pregnant women. Dosage is critical, since the plant might be slightly toxic. The fresh plant, or an ointment made from the flowers, has been applied to piles, skin eruptions etc. The juice of the plant, or the distilled water, is a good remedy for inflamed eyes and cleaning ulcerous sores. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant, and is used in the treatment of diarrhea and cystitis.

Other Uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A tea made from the plant has been used as an insecticide.

Advertising Disclosure: Montana Plant Life may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or visitors clicking on links posted on this website.
Copyright ©