Butter-and-eggs - Linaria vulgaris

Family: Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)(Previously in Scrophulariaceae) [E-flora]
Other Names: (butter and eggs; common toadflax)[E-flora]


Linaria vulgaris is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.[PFAF]
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.[PFAF]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Yellow toadflax has a long history of herbal use. It acts mainly on the liver and was once widely employed as a diuretic in the treatment of oedema[238]. It is little used now, but undoubtedly merits investigation[238]. [PFAF] True Toadflax is the flowering herb of Linaria vulgaris. The medicinal part is the fresh or dried herb.[PDR]

Folk Uses


"It has had its medicinal uses in the past, even though strongly derivative of the doctrine of signatures. As Grigson put it, yellow suggests yellow, so one should not be surprised to find the early herbalists prescribing it for bladder problems. Parkinson. 1640, for instance, said, “the Tode Flaxe is accounted to be good, to cause one to make water”. Earlier, Gerard had claimed that the decoction would “provoke urine, in those that pisse drop by drop”, and it would unstop the kidneys and bladder. The same decoction was used for a second ailment, jaundice, also obviously from the same doctrine. Gerard produced yet another “yellow” remedy – “the decoction of Tode-flax taketh away the yellownesse and deformitie of the skinne, being washed and bathed therewith”. It can be used for warts, too – just rub it on (Tongue. 1965)." [DPL Watts]

"Though frequent to common over much of the British Isles at least since the time of William Turner, it tends to occupy only [late-created] habitats and has the suspect look of a slow-spreading invader from the Continent. That so conspicuous and easily distinguished a plant scarcely features as a folk herb in the British Isles, even though long established in official medicine, adds strength to that suspicion."[MPFT]


Iridoide monoterpenes: chief component - antirrhinoside
Flavonoids: including among others linarin, pectolinarin, linariin (pectolinarigenin-7-rhamnoglucoside- acetate)
Aurones: including among others aureusin, bracteatin-6-Oglucoside
Quinazoline alkaloids: peganine (vasicin)[PDR]

Chinese and North American Medicinal Herbs Belonging to the Same Species: Major Constituents and Therapeutic Values [CRNAH]
Linaria vulgaris
China Peganine, linarin, pectolinarin, neolinarin, flavons, pectolinarigenin, linaracrine, linarezine,


Diuretic, treat headache, dizziness, heart conditions. Externally treat burns, skin diseases
N/A Linarin, sterols, sugars, tannins, mucilage.[99] Treat jaundice, chronic constipation, skin disease


YELLOW TOADFLAX, BUTTER AND EGGS (Linaria vulgaris Mill.) [HMH Duke]
Activities (Yellow Toadflax) —

Antiinflammatory (1; PH2);
Antiscorbutic (f; EFS)
Astringent (f;PNC);

Depurative (f; FEL);

Detergent (f; EFS);
Diaphoretic (1; PH2);
Diuretic (1; PH2);

Emollient(f; EFS);

Hepatic (f; PNC);
Laxative (f; EFS; MAD; PH2);
Vulnerary (f; EFS)

Indications (Yellow Toadflax) —

Cancer,breast (f; JLH);
Cancer, lip (f; JLH);
Constipation (f; EFS; MAD; PH2);
Dermatosis (f; MAD; PH2);

Dysuria (1; MAD; PH2);
Enuresis (f;HHB; MAD);
Hemorrhoid (f; MAD; PH2);
Infection (f; PH2);

Jaundice (f; FEL; MAD);
Sore (f; MAD; PH2);
Splenosis (f; FEL; MAD);
Water Retention (1; MAD; PH2)

Dosages (Yellow Toadflax) — 1.5 g herb/cup (HHB); 1–2 tsp (1.3–2.6 g) in herb infusion (MAD); 1–2 tsp drug/2–4 cups water, steep 18 minutes, drink throughout the day (PH2); externally as poultice (PH2).


Succeeds in a moderately good well-drained soil[1]. Grows best in a neutral to alkaline soil[238]. It prefers a sunny position[111] but also succeeds in semi-shade[219]. A very drought resistant plant once established[200], it can be grown in a drystone wall[219]. Plants can spread fairly aggressively at the roots when they are in a suitable position[K]. They also often self-sow freely[238]. A good bee plant[24].[PFAF]


Seed - sow early spring in situ. Division in April or the autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. This species can be divided successfully at almost any time in the growing season.[PFAF]



Linaria Sp. - Toadflax

"Annual to perennial herb, generally glabrous. Stem: erect, simple or branched at base. Leaf: generally opposite or whorled (or distal alternate), sessile, linear to ovate, generally wider on non-flowering shoots, entire to dentate, pinnately veined. Inflorescence: spike or raceme, terminal; bracts reduced, alternate. Flower: sepals 5, free to near base, lobes ± equal; corolla 5-lobed, 2-lipped, lower lip >= upper, lower side of tube spurred at base, lower side of throat swollen, ± hairy, ± closing corolla below lips; stamens 4, in 2 pairs, included; stigma small, lobes 0 or 2, flat. Fruit: opening by slits into chambers near tip, ± spheric. Seed: many, flat and winged or pyramid-shaped and 0–3-ridged.
± 100 species: Europe, Asia, northern Africa; many cultivated. (Latin: flax, from flax-like leaves of some) [Sutton 1988 Revision tribe Antirrhineae. Oxford Univ Press] Corolla length includes spur. Linaria supina (L.) Chaz. mistakenly reported for California in TJM (1993). Linaria canadensis moved to Nuttallanthus." [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Linaria genistifolia - Dalmatian toadflax [E-flora]
  2. Linaria purpurea - purple toadflax [E-flora]
  3. Linaria vulgaris - butter-and-eggs [E-flora]

Linaria sp. Linaria Species (Vol. X, p. 571)
Most of the 15 species examined contained peganine or Dragendorff-positive compounds (130).[TheAlkaloidsChem&PhysiologyV.12]

Linaria Canadensis - Blue Toadflax
Range:"N. America - Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Minnesota, Oregon, Texas and California." [PFAF]
Medicinal Use: "The leaves are antihaemorrhoidal, diuretic and laxative[61, 254]. They are applied externally in the treatment of haemorrhoids[254]." [PFAF]

Linaria hirta - Flowers eaten raw.[Ethnospain]


Page last modified on Monday, April 13, 2020 3:04 AM