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Dalmatian Toadflax

Linaria genistifolia

Identifying Characteristics

  • bright, yellow, snapdragon-like flowers, 25-40 mm long
  • stem with some branching near the top, 40-120 cm tall
  • broad, pale-green, heart-shaped leaves, 2-6 cm long
  • milky juice appears when stems or leaves break
  • single plant can have up to 25 flowering stems
  • tiny, wrinkled, brown/black seeds, 1-2 mm long are held in two oval capsules, 5-7 mm long
This is a photograph of tiny Dalmatian Toadflax flowers. 4 images
This is a map of British Columbia showing the spread of invasive species.
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A grassland invader that can withstand cold.

This is an illustration of Dalmatian Toadflax. Dalmatian Toadflax

Dalmatian Toadflax is a problem for farms and grasslands in the interior of the province. The tiny, light seeds of Toadflax are easily spread by birds, animals and the wind, and germinate along roadsides, in farmers' fields and in disturbed areas. Dalmatian Toadflax, an attractive plant, is also found in many gardens. It tolerates low temperatures, one of the reasons it has infested colder areas of British Columbia.

Impact on Communities and Native Species

Dalmatian Toadflax is an aggressive invader. Its fast-growing, strong, horizontal roots, its ability to flower early, and its prolific seed production give it an advantage over other species. The plant forms dense thickets that push out native grasses and wildflowers, and reduce land used for cattle and wildlife grazing. Toadflax is toxic to animals, and livestock generally steer clear of it.

Invasion History

Dalmatian Toadflax arrived as an ornamental - its bright, yellow, snapdragon-like flowers made it a favourite among gardeners. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region and was introduced to North America in the late 1800s. It appeared in southeast British Columbia by 1940, on Vancouver Island by 1951, and in central BC by 1953. Toadflax has infested thousands of acres in the province and has spread to the Okanagan, Similkameen, Thompson, East Kootenay, Cariboo, Skeena, and Boundary areas, and to coastal communities on Vancouver Island.