I always look forward to riding my bike alongside the swales in rural Hendry County. This past weekend, I discovered two new species that I did not have in my wildflower picture collection. One of them is the Blue Toadflax, Linaria Canadensis. A member of the Plantaginaceae(Plantin Family). The specimen in the picture was found in the midst of a small population of Toadflaxs on the bank of a swale.
Blue Toadflax is a herbaceous biennial with a single erect and arching main stem 10” to 20” inches in height. A few short basal stems of about 4” in length is found at the base of the main stem. Narrow linear leaves, in whorls of three, point upward along the main stem. Length is about 1”. In the upper portion of the main stem, flower buds appear in leaf axils at the junction of the leaf and the main stem.
The flower’s corolla has a two lipped five lobed structure that is similar to the Mint family. There is, however, no relationship. The upper lip has two separated lobes or petals. The lower lip has a relatively large dorsal lobe with a wing lobe on either side. A tiny tunnel that houses the sex organs is between both lips. The lobes (petals) are of a violet color with some white markings. Several flower buds are found a typical plant.
This species likes disturbed sites. Blue Toadflax is found in every county in the State.