It’s a pretty little thing, this Butter and eggs. There’s none of the bold bright brashness of the stark sunflower; instead, it has a mouth-watering combination of soft warm creamy butter and that bright pop of yellow of a perfectly cooked free-range egg yolk. Mmmmmmmm!
This is Linaria vulgaris, which has the very bland and rather uninspiring name of Common toadflax. I much prefer the vernacular Butter and eggs or, indeed, its other vernacular name, Bunny mouths, which appeals instantly to the child in me and brings back memories of snapdragon flowers, which these resemble and which can be gently squeezed to make the bunny ‘talk’.
Linaria vulgaris beautifies waysides and waste grounds, as well as open grassy areas, flowering from late spring right through till November. Because of its bunny-shaped mouth, the flower can be difficult for insects to access – it takes a strong bee or bumblebee to make the bunny ‘talk’. And, as well as providing bees and bumbles with nectar and pollen in exchange for pollination, L. vulgaris is also a favourite food plant for several species of moth, including the Silver Y, the Toadflax pug, and the Brown rustic. Butter and eggs all round then!