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Prostrate Toadflax

Linaria supina

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Veronicaceae (Speedwell)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Beaches, grassland, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, 2 petals
The inflorescence is a flower spike. The flowers are pale yellow with an orange bulb in the centre.
The fruit is a capsule.
An annual, sprawling flower with very narrow, linear, oblong leaves, pointed at their tips.
Other Names:
Supine Toadflax, Trailing Toadflax.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Linaria supina, also known as prostrate toadflax or trailing toadflax, is a perennial herb native to Europe. 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 some countries because of its ability to spread and displace native vegetation. Control methods include mechanical removal, grazing, and the use of herbicides. L. supina is not commonly used for medicinal purposes, it is considered a weed and its invasiveness has negative effects on the environment.


Prostrate Toadflax, also known as Linaria supina, is a unique and fascinating plant species that is native to Europe and Asia. With its delicate yellow flowers and sprawling, ground-hugging growth habit, it is a popular choice among gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the fascinating world of Prostrate Toadflax and discover why it is so special.

Botanical Characteristics

Prostrate Toadflax is a low-growing annual or biennial plant that typically grows to a height of no more than 20 cm. It is a spreading plant, with thin, wiry stems that trail along the ground and root at the nodes. The leaves are narrow and linear, and are typically arranged opposite each other along the stems. The flowers of Prostrate Toadflax are one of its most distinctive features, with bright yellow petals that resemble snapdragons. They bloom in the summer and early autumn, and are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Ecology and Distribution

Prostrate Toadflax is native to Europe and Asia, and is widely distributed throughout these regions. It grows in a variety of habitats, from grasslands and meadows to rocky outcrops and waste ground. In its native range, it is often found growing alongside other wildflowers, and is considered to be an important part of the local flora.

In recent years, however, Prostrate Toadflax has become an invasive species in many parts of the world, including North America, Australia, and New Zealand. This is largely due to its ability to grow rapidly and outcompete native plants, as well as its ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. As a result, it is now considered a serious weed in many countries, and efforts are underway to control its spread and minimize its impact on native ecosystems.

Uses and Cultivation

Despite its invasive tendencies, Prostrate Toadflax is still highly valued by many gardeners and landscapers, who appreciate its delicate flowers and attractive ground-hugging habit. It is a popular choice for rock gardens, alpine gardens, and other areas where low-growing plants are desired. In addition, it is also valued for its ability to tolerate dry, poor soils, making it an ideal choice for areas that are difficult to cultivate.

To grow Prostrate Toadflax, it is best to sow seeds directly in the ground in the spring or early autumn. Alternatively, it can be propagated from cuttings taken in the summer. It prefers well-drained soils and full sun, and should be spaced about 20 cm apart to allow enough room for it to spread. Once established, it requires minimal care, and will grow happily in poor soils with very little water.

Prostrate Toadflax is a fascinating and versatile plant species that is valued by both gardeners and ecologists alike. With its delicate yellow flowers and low-growing habit, it is an attractive addition to any garden, and is easy to grow in a variety of soils and conditions. However, its invasive tendencies make it a plant that requires careful consideration, and it should only be grown in areas where its spread can be controlled and its impact on native ecosystems minimized.

More Information

In addition to its ornamental uses, Prostrate Toadflax also has a long history of traditional medicinal uses. In the past, it was used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, respiratory problems, and digestive issues. However, it is important to note that many of these traditional uses have not been scientifically validated, and that Prostrate Toadflax can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.

Despite its potential toxicity, Prostrate Toadflax is still used in traditional medicine in some parts of the world, and research is ongoing to determine its potential benefits and side effects. For example, some studies have suggested that compounds found in the plant may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, and that it may be useful in the treatment of various health conditions.

Another interesting aspect of Prostrate Toadflax is its close relationship to other members of the plant kingdom. It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family, which includes a number of other well-known plants, such as snapdragons, foxgloves, and penstemons. Like these other plants, Prostrate Toadflax is valued for its beauty, and is an important part of the natural world.

Prostrate Toadflax is a unique and fascinating plant species with a rich history and a wide range of uses. Whether grown in a garden or appreciated in the wild, it is sure to capture the attention of anyone who comes across it. So why not take the time to learn more about this special plant and discover why it is so special.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Prostrate Toadflax is also an important source of food for a variety of wildlife species. For example, its bright yellow flowers provide a valuable source of nectar for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, while its seeds are a favorite food of many birds, including goldfinches and buntings.

This makes Prostrate Toadflax an important part of many ecosystems, and highlights the role it plays in supporting biodiversity and maintaining the delicate balance of the natural world. For this reason, it is important to manage its spread and impact on native ecosystems carefully, and to consider its potential ecological impact before planting it in an area.

Prostrate Toadflax is also a valuable resource for scientists and ecologists, who study its biology, genetics, and ecology to learn more about the natural world and the relationships between plants and animals. For example, research is ongoing to better understand the mechanisms behind its invasive behavior, and to develop effective strategies for controlling its spread.

In conclusion, Prostrate Toadflax is much more than just a pretty plant. It is an important part of the natural world, with a rich history and a wide range of uses and benefits. Whether grown in a garden or appreciated in the wild, it is a species that deserves our attention and respect, and a reminder of the beauty and diversity of the natural world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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