PURPLE TOADFLAX

Linaria purpurea

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]  
Formerly in: Figwort & Foxglove Family [Scrophulariaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8purple
inner
inner8mauve
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ2
type
typeZspiked
type
typeZspurred
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZbisexual

24th June 2006, Canal Bridge, Grand Union Canal. Photo: © RWD
Grows about 3 or 4 feet tall as a mass of upright shoots with a purple spike of flowers atop. Possesses some similarities to Purple Loosestrife.


25th June 2005, Peak Forest Canal, near Marple. Photo: © RWD
The long narrow linear leaves on all sides of the stem all the way up the stem.


13th Aug 2008, Walkden, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are bright violet or a paler violet with purple veins. Those at the top are tiny and not yet developed, those slightly lower are growing larger into flowers but are not yet fully opened, but instead shaped like tiny boxing gloves. The largest flowers have grown and opened but those at the bottom have already flowered and are turning to fruit, replete with long style still attached.


10th Oct 2005, Gardom Edge, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have a spur at the rear that hangs downwards and is not obvious at first glance. The purple cotolla is between 8 to 15mm long.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Viewed from the back the flowers have very long and obvious spurs. Flower colour varies a little from mauve with deep purplish-violet veins to wholly purplish-violet, or sometimes pink. The boss on the front of the flower is either concolourous with the petals or whitish.


12th June 2007, Salford, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are typical snap-dragon patter: two ears sticking up, two bulbous middles, and three lobes pointing downwards and partly sideways, besides the rear spur. The sepals, of which there are 5, were once green but now browned and are long and thin. There is a single long ligule just below each flower stalk as it emerges from the main stem.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits at the bottom are now at a more advanced stage, with the ovary now much more swollen, but still with (withering) style attached.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are 'double-barrelled' and still surrounded by sepal teeth, but which are now much more obvious than they were with the flowers in their stead.


14th Sept 2020, Bridgewater Canal, Monton, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The sepal cups have turned fawn coloured and lurking within are the charcoal-black seeds.


14th Sept 2020, Bridgewater Canal, Monton, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The sepal cups and the seeds within.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The sepal teeth are still beneath the now opened and empty fruit cases; the seeds having dispersed. That these are the dried outer casings of the double-barrelled fruit can be deduced from the presence of the (now dried and shrivelled) style which is still attached on the top of what now appears as a curved bridge across the double-opening (see lowest fruit-case). This bridge was once where the two fruits were fused; the style is still attached in its centre. The two halves split open independently; the three recurved teeth on each side bear testament to that.


14th Sept 2020, Bridgewater Canal, Monton, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The deep-black seeds within. A broken thus shortened style sits on the 'land-bridge' between the two halves of the sepal cup.


14th Sept 2020, Bridgewater Canal, Monton, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Three (or more?) black seeds snuggle up on one side of the pod.


14th Sept 2020, Bridgewater Canal, Monton, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The seeds are very variable in shape, and charcoal-black.


14th Sept 2020, Bridgewater Canal, Monton, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The seeds are angular but lack the wings present on some other Linaria-genus Toadflaxes, such as on Jersey Toadflax, Sand Toadflax, Prostrate Toadflax and Common Toadflax.


15th May 2008, Walkden, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are linear-lanceolate. On a young shoot look like they are in whorls.




A FASCIATED SPECIMEN

 Mutations Menu

Late May 2019, a garden, Borrowash, Derby. Photo: © James Petts
An almost normal looking specimen apart from it gradually splitting from a single stem at the foot into two stems further up. Other than that, it looks normal, with normal leaves and normal round stems.


Late May 2019, a garden, Borrowash, Derby. Photo: © James Petts
A plant with normal flowers on the left growing from a round stem. The plant on the right has an abnormal stem, very flat but very wide. It is covered in an abnormal proliferation of tiny flowers.


Late May 2019, a garden, Borrowash, Derby. Photo: © James Petts
These two stems are very thin but abnormally wide, about 10 times wider than the diameter of normal round stems. They have numerous tiny leaves growing from the lower parts. The centre has two extremely thin and short branches, with abnormally thin but still round stem. At their ends are extremely tiny flowering spikes of (as yet) unopened flowers.

The top of the flat stem is plastered in tiny flowers, the green tiny ones not yet opened, the lower purple ones with boxing-glove purple flowers about to fully open, but their size is still abnormally tiny.



Late May 2019, a garden, Borrowash, Derby. Photo: © James Petts
The very wide but flattened stem in close-up showing the tiny leaves which run down the flat stem in a raised in a raised rib before melding into the stem. The middle section shows the diminutive flowers in boxing-glove pose before fully opening. They are tiny in comparison to normal flowers. The upper part of the flattened stem is covered in masses of tiny unopened flowers displaying their green sepal teeth.


Late May 2019, a garden, Borrowash, Derby. Photo: © James Petts
Masses of tiny unopened flowers completely obscuring the flat stem - all you can see are their green sepal teeth (purple sepal teeth for those at the top of the photo).


Late May 2019, a garden, Borrowash, Derby. Photo: © James Petts
The very wide but flattened stem in close-up showing the tiny leaves which run down the flat stem in a raised in a raised rib before melding into the stem. [Normal leaves on normal stems do not run down the stems like this, or at least only for a very short distance]. At the top of the photo the diminutive flowers in boxing-glove pose before fully opening.


Early June 2019, a garden, Borrowash, Derby. Photo: © James Petts
A couple of weeks later more flowers are opening.


No relation to : Flaxes such as Cultivated Flax (Linum usitatissimum) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Hybridizes with : Pale Toadflax (Linaria repens) to produce Linaria × dominii.

Not to be confused with: Purple Loosestrife which looks vaguely similar.

The flowers of purple toadflax are about half the size of those of : Common Toadflax


  Linaria purpurea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Plantaginaceae  

Distribution
family8Plantain family8Plantaginaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Linaria
Linaria
(Toadflaxes)

PURPLE TOADFLAX

Linaria purpurea

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]  
Formerly in: Figwort & Foxglove Family [Scrophulariaceae]

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