Purple Toadflax

The Perennial Snapdragon (Linaria Purpurea)

Notwithstanding that it has such a great name,  this “purple toadflax” is also remarkable for its ability to provide pollinating insects with a source of  nectar from late spring  right through into the autumn. I didn’t actually buy this plant as such; it “hitchhiked” a lift  in the same pot of another plant I had bought from my local garden centre.

Although it’s renowned for it’s prolific seeding(and so can be  somewhat invasive) I’m actually glad I didn’t weed it out and discard it but, instead, offered it a place in my balcony garden where it’s now constantly visited by bees.  It has a very long flowering season having been in flower from around May and is still in flower right now as we head in towards the end of September. It’s late flowering also makes it especially valuable as source of nectar at a time when most other garden plants have long stopped flowering. In addition to providing nectar for bees, the plant’s leaves also provide food for the caterpillars of a number of moths including the Toadflax Brocade – (calophasia lunula) and the Toadflax Pug (eupithecia linariata). Although the plant is a bit of an “interloper” it’s contribution in supporting so many insects has definitely earned it it’s right to stay and has become a very welcome addition to the wildlife balcony garden.

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