Category: Scrophulariaceae

  • Persian Speedwell (Veronica persica)

    A common lawn weed that’s so tiny we usually overlook it. Up close, however, the sky-blue flowers are beautiful, and they are among the first wild flowers to appear in spring. This plant was blooming two days before the official beginning of spring in a lawn in Beechview.

  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)


    Snapdragons are popular garden flowers that originate in the Mediterranean region, where they grow as perennials. Here thay’re happy to grow as annuals, liberally seeding themselves and popping up in unlikely places. This one was part of a small colony growing from a little crack in the pavement at the edge of a street in Beechview, where it was happily blooming in early November. They can bloom till Christmas if there are no very hard freezes.

    Gray describes the genus and the species:

    Calyx 5-parted. Corolla-tube saccate or gibbous in front, not spurred; the lower lip 3-lobed, spreading, developed at the base into a prominent palate, which nearly or quite closes the throat; upper lip erect, shortly 2-lobed. Stamens 4, didynamous, included; anther-cells distinct and parallel. Ours herbaceous plants with lance-oblong to linear entire leaves and axillary or racemose flowers. (Name from anti, in the sense of like, and rhis, a snout, in reference doubtless to the peculiar form of the corolla.)

    A. MAJUS L. Perennial, glandular-pubescent and somewhat viscid; leaves lance-oblong; calyx-lobes ovate or oblong, short; corolla crimson, white, or variegated, 2-3 cm. long. Commonly cultivated, and occasionally found as an escape. (Introd. from Eu.)

  • Butter-and-Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)


    Also called Toadflax, these common roadside snapdragons are nearly as showy as their cultivated cousins. They bloom all summer, and they have no objection to a crack in the sidewalk if they can’t find posher quarters. Once placed in the family Scrophulariaceae, but now, thanks to these newfangled genetic studies, removed to the plantain family.

    From Gray’s Manual of Botany: Linaria vulgaris Hill. (RAMSTED, BUTTER AND EGGS.) Glabrous, erect, 1.3 m. or less high; leaves pale, linear or nearly so, extremely numerous, subalternate ; raceme dense ; corolla 2-3 cm. long or more, including the slender subulate spur ; seeds winged. Fields and roadsides, throughout our range. (Nat. from Eu.)