Linaria

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For the bird genus, see Passerina (as originally described by Bartram in 1791) or Carduelis (as invalidly established by Bechstein in 1802).
Linaria
common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Linaria
Species

About 100 species; see text

Linaria is a genus of about 100 species of herbaceous annuals and perennials that was traditionally placed in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae. Due to new genetic research, it has now been placed in the vastly expanded family Plantaginaceae. The genus is native to temperate regions of Europe, northern Africa and Asia, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region.

The members of this genus are known in English as toadflax, a name shared with several related genera. The scientific name means "resembling Linum" (flax), which the foliage of some species superficially resembles.

Closely related genera include the Nuttallanthus (American toadflaxes, recently split from Linaria), Antirrhinum (snapdragons) and Cymbalaria (Ivy-leaved toadflaxes).

Species[edit]

Some of the more familiar Linaria include:

  • Common toadflax or butter-and-eggs (Linaria vulgaris), a European species which is widely introduced elsewhere and grows as a common weed in some areas.
  • Pale toadflax (Linaria repens), a species from western Europe similar to L. purpurea, but with paler flowers.

Medicinal uses[edit]

L. vulgaris has been used as a medicinal herb for the treatment of many illnesses and conditions, including cancer, hepatitis, hemorrhoids, scrofula, and scurvy. It has been used as an astringent, an emollient, and a laxative.[2]

Ecology[edit]

Some Linaria are regarded as noxious weeds. They are likely toxic to livestock, but ruminants generally avoid them.[3]

Toadflaxes are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the Mouse Moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis) and the Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dalmatian Toadflax (Linaria dalmatica). National Invasive Species Information Center, United States National Agricultural Library.
  2. ^ Duke, J. A. Ethnobotanical uses: Linaria vulgaris. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases.
  3. ^ Sing, S. E. and R. K. Peterson. (2011). Assessing environmental risks for established invasive weeds: Dalmatian (Linaria dalmatica) and yellow (L. vulgaris) toadflax in North America. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 8(7) 2828-53.