Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flax in Bloom

If you keep seeing waves of purple amongst the grass at the side of the road, you're seeing one of our favorite Florida spring wildflowers, Blue Toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis syn. Linaria canadensis).

It's native to much of the eastern U.S., including Florida, and has been introduced to the western states. It's a great harbinger of spring in Florida, as it blooms when the weather has finally become consistently warm and sunny, generally starting in late February. Though the common name is "Blue Toadflax", it's our opinion that it really looks more purple, although maybe not in these pictures.

There's nothing showy about blue toadflax, although in large amounts it's very eye-catching. This native wildflower (also sometimes called Canada Toadflax) is in the same genus as the Linaria Enchantment we started from seed this year, and they have the same narrow delicate stems supporting little groupings of flowers.

Blue Toadflax is a host plant for the Buckeye butterfly's caterpillar, which is starting to pop up all over the place. Buckeyes are mainly a spring butterfly in Florida; they'll start to make their way north when the temperatures start to heat up and their host plants die back. Toadflax will last for only a few weeks this spring, so we're glad to be able to enjoy it in My Florida Backyard while it's here!


  1. That is not a flower I've seen down here. I wonder if we're too far south. What a wonderful little native, wildflower.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  2. It's so delicate looking. Lovely shade, no matter if it's blue or purple. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have those in my yard! From now on,I'll be leaving them alone.
    Thanks for the info.

  4. I've loved these since I was a little girl. I didn't see them on the Gulf coast of FL, but now that I'm back on the other side of the state they're popping up in my yard and bringing me happiness.