Comandra umbellata (Bastard Toadflax)
|Also known as:|
|Family:||Comandraceae (Bastard Toadflax)|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry prairies, open woods, sandy or rocky soil|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||3 to 12 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Tightly packed flat clusters of a few to many flowers at the end of a slender stalk, at the end top of the plant. Individual flowers are white to pinkish, 1/8 to ¼ inch across, tubular with 5 pointed lobes that flare out, giving it a star shape. The inside of the tube is green and holds 5 yellow stamens. A plant may branch, with clusters at the end of branching stems.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are lance-elliptic, toothless, hairless, ½ to 2 inches long and 1/8 to ¾ inch wide, with a pointed or blunt tip and little or no stalk. Attachment is alternate. Stems are smooth and slender, branched or not. Plants can form colonies from long rhizomes.
Bastard Toadflax is semi-parasitic, feeding on other plants through its rhizomes. The DNR lists 2 varieties in Minnesota: var. pallida, which has a waxy coating on leaves, and var. umbellata, which lacks the waxy leaves. There are no herbarium records of var. pallida in Minnesota but it is most likely to be in western counties.
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- Bastard Toadflax plants
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- a colony of Bastard Toadflax
- branching plant
- early spring growth
- fall color
Photos by K. Chayka taken at taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County and Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?