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Pale Toadflax

Linaria repens

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Veronicaceae (Speedwell)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, wasteland.

Purple, 2 petals
The inflorescence is a flower spike. The flowers in the spike are pale lilac with darker veins and a yellow centre. The upper lip is 2-lobed and lower lip, 3-lobed. The flower spur is short and straight. 4 stamens.
The fruit is a capsule, 3 or 4mm long.
The very narrow, pointed, stalkless leaves are long and linear in shape. The lower leaves are spirally arranged around the stem but the upper leaves are alternate. The stems are unbranched and hairless. Perennial.
Other Names:
Creeping Toadflax, European Toadflax, Striped Toadflax.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Linaria repens, also known as creeping toadflax or European toadflax, is a perennial herb native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is typically found in grassland, meadows, and disturbed areas such as roadsides and pastures. The plant has a low-growing, creeping habit and produces small, yellow, pink or purple flowers. It is considered an invasive weed in many countries because of its ability to spread and displace native vegetation. Control methods include mechanical removal, grazing, and the use of herbicides. L. repens has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, such as for treating skin complaints, and some studies suggest that it has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. However, it is not recommended to use this plant as a medicine without the guidance of a qualified professional because of its invasiveness.


Pale Toadflax, also known by its scientific name Linaria repens, is a beautiful and versatile plant that is native to Europe, but has been introduced and naturalized in many other regions around the world. It is a hardy and low-maintenance plant that is well suited to a variety of garden settings, and it is also prized by wildlife enthusiasts for its ability to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

One of the most distinctive features of Pale Toadflax is its delicate, tubular flowers, which are typically yellow or orange in color and bloom in profusion throughout the summer months. These flowers are produced on long spikes that can grow up to 2 feet in length, and they are held aloft above the plant's rosette of leaves, creating an eye-catching display that is sure to draw attention.

In addition to its flowers, Pale Toadflax is also valued for its versatility and ease of cultivation. It is a hardy plant that is able to grow in a range of soils, from sand to clay, and it is also highly tolerant of dry conditions, making it an excellent choice for xeriscaping. Additionally, it is a low-maintenance plant that does not require a lot of attention or care, making it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a plant that will thrive with minimal effort.

For those interested in attracting wildlife to their gardens, Pale Toadflax is an excellent choice. Its tubular flowers are a popular source of nectar for bees and butterflies, and the plant is also visited by other pollinators, such as moths and hummingbirds. Additionally, the leaves and seeds of the plant are an important source of food for many species of birds, including goldfinches and buntings.

Pale Toadflax is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well suited to a variety of garden settings. With its delicate flowers, hardiness, and ability to attract pollinators and wildlife, it is a great choice for any gardener looking for a low-maintenance and attractive addition to their landscape.

Pale Toadflax is a versatile plant that can be used in a number of different ways in the garden. It is often grown as a border plant or groundcover, where it can be used to create a lush, flowing carpet of yellow or orange flowers. It can also be used as a filler in rock gardens, as a trailing plant in containers, or as an accent plant in mixed borders.

In addition to its ornamental value, Pale Toadflax has a number of practical uses as well. For example, it can be used to stabilize soil on slopes or in areas prone to erosion, and it can also be used to suppress the growth of weeds. It is also highly deer resistant, making it a great choice for gardens in areas where deer are a problem.

When it comes to growing Pale Toadflax, the plant is relatively easy to care for. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It can be propagated by seed or by dividing established clumps in the spring or fall. It can also be propagated from cuttings taken in the spring or summer.

Pale Toadflax is a relatively low-maintenance plant, and it does not require much care once it is established. It should be watered regularly during its first growing season to help it become established, but after that, it is relatively drought tolerant. It can be trimmed back after flowering to encourage a second flush of blooms, and it may also need to be divided every few years to keep it from becoming too crowded.

Pale Toadflax is a beautiful, versatile, and low-maintenance plant that is well suited to a variety of garden settings. Whether you are looking to create a lush border, fill a rock garden, or attract pollinators and wildlife to your garden, Pale Toadflax is a great choice.

It is important to note that while Pale Toadflax is a beautiful and desirable plant, it can also be invasive in some regions. This is because it has the ability to spread rapidly and establish itself in a wide range of habitats, which can result in it outcompeting native plant species.

To avoid the potential for invasiveness, it is important to grow Pale Toadflax in a contained environment, such as in a garden bed with borders, or in a container. If planting it in a garden bed, it is also important to keep an eye on its growth and to remove any unwanted shoots that may appear outside of the designated area.

In terms of pests and diseases, Pale Toadflax is relatively resistant to problems. However, it can be susceptible to fungal diseases in areas with high humidity, and it may also be attacked by aphids, spider mites, or other sucking insects. To prevent these problems, it is important to provide adequate air circulation around the plant and to keep the foliage dry.

Another important consideration when growing Pale Toadflax is its potential toxicity. While the plant is not toxic to humans, it is toxic to livestock, especially horses. If you are growing Pale Toadflax in an area where horses or other livestock may be present, it is important to keep the plant out of reach or to provide a barrier to prevent accidental ingestion.

In conclusion, Pale Toadflax is a beautiful and versatile plant that has a lot to offer the garden. However, it is important to be mindful of its potential invasiveness and to grow it in a contained environment, to prevent it from spreading into natural areas. If you are interested in growing Pale Toadflax, be sure to consider its potential for toxicity, pests, and diseases, and to provide it with the care and attention it needs to thrive.


Pale Toadflax filmed in Silverdale, Lancashire on the 18th June 2023.


Music credits
Bright Wish by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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