Butter-and-eggs_jpgThis family (Scrophulariaceae) commonly called the Figwort or Snapdragon Family consists of 224 genera and 4,450 species of herbs and a few shrubs and trees. Members of this family are cultivated as ornamentals including Snapdragons, Slipper-Flowers and Empress-Tree. The name “toadflax”, explained in 1597 by botanist Gerard, is derived from the small, slender stalks from which long narrow leaves grow like flax. The yellow flowers have a mouth like a frog–if you pinch the hinge of its jaw, the frog mouth opens. Butter-and-eggs is the American name derived from its colors. Thoreau wrote (1852) of “butter-and-eggs…it is rather rich-colored, with a not disagreeable scent. It is called a troublesome weed. Flowers must not be too profuse nor obtrusive; else they acquire the reputation of weeds”. Native Americans used a plant infusion (medicine prepared by steeping flowers or leaves without boiling) as an emetic, and a cold leaf fusion was taken for diarrhea. The 1998 edition of the Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines reports that this plant can be used internally to aid digestion and to treat urinary tract disorders. It may be used externally (poultice) for hemorrhoids, skin rashes and skin ulcers, and for festering wounds.


Toadflax, Yellow Toadflax, Brideweed, Devil’s Flower, Hogmouth, Ladies’-Slippers, Rabbit-Ears


Linaria vulgaris




Naturalized Native of Europe




1 to 3 feet


Mid June to late November


Found throughout the United States ~ Statewide in NJ


Early June to November


Leaves alternate, entire, long and narrow, numerous, without hair ~ Flowers sulfur-yellow with orange marks, arranged in terminal dense racemes ~ Leaves and stems pale blue-green and without hair