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About Me

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

18 August, 2016

Common Toadeflax: the snap-dragon

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I expect most of us are familiar with snap-dragons as we called them when I was a child. If you press the sides of the flower near the base the mouth opens! Common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) is the natural version of the antirrhinum we used to grow in the garden. 
As the name implies, it is fairly common and thrives on calcareous soils and hence does well in parts of Dorset. It flowers from July right through until October and you can find in waste areas, on grassland, in hedgerows, along roadside verges and railway tracks, anywhere where the competition from other plants is not too great. 
I have also heard this called Tom Thumb and eggs and bacon but I think both of these country names really apply to bird's-foot trefoil. There are numerous other colloquial names for it and Wikipedia has quite a long list if you are really interested! It is also an extensively used plant in herbal medicine curing alomost as many ailments as it has names ...
Common toadflax is a lovely flower; it is well worth taking a closer look if you find it.
Common Toadeflax: the snap-dragon