Thursday, 23 August 2012

Butter and Eggs

The title of today's post, refers not to my breakfast, but to a common and rather beautiful flower which can be found in bloom around Shipley Park at the moment.  Correctly known as Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris), this is a close relative of the well-known Snapdragons which are to be found in many of our gardens.
Pollination of these plants, like those of the Snapdragon, can only be undertaken by strong insects as the flower is closed under normal circumstances by it's lower 'lip' and only fairly large insects such as Bumblebees, have the ability to open them up and crawl inside.
The plant as a whole has been used medicinally as a treatment for jaundice and dropsy and a 'tea' or tincture made from the leaves is very effective when used as a diuretic and laxative.
It's quite clear, when looking at the flowers, where the name Butter and Eggs comes from, but it is also known by a number of other common names including brideweed, bridewort, butter haycocks, bread and butter, bunny haycocks, bunny mouths, calf's snout, continental weed, dead men's bones, devil's flax, devil's flower, doggies, dragon bushes, eggs and bacon and many, many more. Whatever you like to call it, it is undeniably beautiful to see flowering in the path-sides.
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