Skip navigation

Weed Identification

butter and eggs



Scientific Name

Linaria vulgaris

Other Common Names:

Jacob's ladder
wild snapdragon
yellow toadflax

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Linaria linaria


Reaches 1-3 feet tall, grows from May to October, and is mildly poisonous to livestock.


1 to 2.5 inch slender, gray-green leaves that are pointed at each end, narrow, stalkless, and simple. Upper leaves are alternate and lower leaves are whorled.

Identifying Characteristics

Similar to Dalmatian toadflax, but is a smaller plant, has smaller flowers, and leaves are linear instead of heart-shaped. The large yellow flowers, slender leaves, and milky sap are good identification characteristics.

Flower Seed Head

Flowers are irregular, snap-dragon shaped, produced in a dense, terminal raceme, and appears in early summer, lasting into late summer. Petals are a bright to cream yellow with a dull orange center. A spur 1 cm long is located at the base of the petals.

Seed Fruit

The fruit is a capsule with two locules and many seeds. The seeds are winged, disk-shaped, and dark brown to black.

Where Found

Fields, borders, gardens, disturbed areas, roadsides, waste areas, railroad yards, pastures, and edges of forests.

Life Cycle


Plant Type