Linaria dalmatica (Dalmatian Toadflax)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||sun; dry fields, roadsides, disturbed soil|
|Bloom season:||May - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Irregular flowers about 1½ inches long in a spike-like raceme at the top of the plant. Flowers are bright yellow with two lips, sport an orange bearded (hairy) throat and have a long spur hanging down at the base that holds nectar. They look very similar in form to the common garden shapdragon though the two species are not closely related.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 2 inches long and 1½ inches wide, toothless, have a pointed tip, are broad at the base, alternately attached and mostly clasp the main stem. Leaves and stems are smooth with a waxy layer (cuticle) that gives them a bluish cast. The stems are stout and branched in the upper part of the plant.
The flowers of Dalmatian Toadflax are much like Butter and Eggs (L. vulgaris) but the latter has very different leaves—long and very narrow. While Butter and Eggs is fairly widespread in Minnesota, Dalmatian toadflax is just showing up now. Likely originally introduced into North America by gardeners, it is now a highly problematic invasive species throughout the arid western US, spreading aggressively by both seeds and robust underground root stalks. While it should be controlled as soon as possible wherever and whenever it is found, the waxy cuticle makes it highly resistant to chemical control and its deep underground roots make hand pulling nearly worthless. Like several other species, Linaria has been moved from the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family to Plantaginaceae (Plantain).
Early detection is the key to preventing this from getting a real foothold. The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) is targeting this species, among others, and would like to take quick action against it. See the MDA Dalmatian Toadflax fact sheet for more information. If you think you see this plant somewhere in MN please either contact the MDA or post a comment below. Thank you for helping to stop this pest in its tracks!
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken along Cr 8, just NW of Grand Marais, MN in Cook County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?