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University of Minnesota Extension

Butter and eggs

Quick facts

Butter and eggs is an invasive species.

  • Butter and eggs is adaptable to various site conditions.

  • It can be found growing in gravelly to sandy soil along roadsides, railroad tracks, dry fields, pastures or croplands.

  • It spreads vegetatively and competes well against native plants in gravel or sandy soil.

Butter and eggs should be reported. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides detailed recommendations for reporting invasive species.

single butter and eggs flower in the grass

How to identify butter and eggs

  • Butter & eggs (Linaria vulgaris) is a perennial herbaceous plant, one to three and a half feet high.
  • Also known as yellow toadflax, butter & eggs emerges in clumps from a spreading root system.
  • The flowers are similar to Dalmatian toadflax.


  • Multiple vertical, smooth stems growing from spreading rootstalks; rarely branched.


  • Alternate, smooth, a half inch to two inches long and narrow.
  • The leaves are sometimes sparsely covered in long hairs.
  • Leaves are tightly packed along the stem, appearing opposite but are in fact alternate.


  • Bright yellow/white snapdragon-like flowers, a half inch to one and a third inches with a long spur.
  • The flowers are arranged in an elongated cluster of 15–20 flowers along each stem.
  • Blooms mid-May until late September.


  • Capsules are a fourth to half inch long.
  • They contain small, flat, dark seeds with papery wings that are easily dispersed by wind and water.
  • They can survive in the soil for up to 8 years.


  • Root buds form on the taproot and lateral roots.
  • Spread vegetatively.
  • The root fragments are as small as a half inch and are capable of producing a new plant.
butter & eggs
up close photo of butter and eggs flower
Butter and eggs


Author: Angela Gupta, Amy Rager,  Megan M. Weber, Extension educators

Reviewed in 2019

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