Linaria dalmatica (Dalmatian Toadflax)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:East Mediterranean
  • Early Detection weed, MDA
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
  • Noxious Weed
  • Prohibited or Restricted species
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 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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More photos

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?

Posted by: PT - New Brighton
on: 2013-08-29 01:44:49

Hansen Park - 1555 5th St. NW

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2013-08-29 07:42:28

Much more likely to be found in the metro area: butter-and-eggs, which is closely related. Check the leaf shape to see the difference.

Posted by: Chloe - Chaska
on: 2014-09-28 17:40:03

I just wanted to mention that this species seems very similar to birds foot trefoil which i have commonly seen over the summers here. I was wondering however what dictates whether a species is invasive? the fact that it is non-native, or the fact that it snuffs out other plants?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-09-28 18:08:17

Chloe, not all non-native plants are invasive, but many non-natives do escape cultivation, grow uncontrolled, and crowd out natives.

I'm not sure I'd agree that dalmation toadflax looks much like birds-foot trefoil. They both have yellow flowers but that's really where the similarities end. Flower size and shape, leaf type and arrangement, and overall plant structure are all different between the two.

Posted by: Tammy - Woodbury
on: 2016-07-10 00:05:40

Hi - I think this may be growing along Hudson road. The "fact sheet" link was not valid. Do you have any other links to info - mainly photos? Thank you, Tammy

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2016-07-10 04:38:43

Tammy, what you most likely saw was the closely related butter-and-eggs, which is common in the metro area. The leaves are much narrower than dalmation toadflax. MDA has some additional images on their relocated dalmation toadflax page. If you still aren't sure post a picture on our facebook page and we'll take a look.

Posted by: Linda Thomas - Southeast-Oronoco Mn
on: 2018-07-25 19:09:36

We just discovered quite a bit of this plant on our property on a hillside we haven't mowed in 25 yrs- saw wild parsnip and in process of eradicating it when discovered the Dalmatian toadflax- I had never seen before- will post on fb page-looked up how to eradicate-oh boy- what fun this is not going to be. It is quite beautiful with the waxy leaves- so sad its a bad one!

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-07-25 19:24:16

Linda, the images you posted show opposite leaves where dalmation toadflax has alternate leaves, so you're safe. Compare with the gentians.

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