Last weekend as Kate and I were waiting for an outdoor table at a local diner, We wandered around the cottage garden of the quaint little floral and gift shop next door. There were some tall yellow snapdragon type flowers that I really liked around the back, so I went in to ask what they were. The proprietor, a lovely little older lady led me right through the store to the back. She said she did not know what they were, just that her brother had brought them home from a hike in the mountains. She pulled a few out by the roots, wrapped them in brown paper and gave them to me.
Some people are a light in the world.
When I got home, I stuck them into my watering can because there was water in it and researched the plant on the Internet.
I have always loved butter and eggs -- both the breakfast and the flower. When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, I adored its bright yellow and orange snapdragon flowers, so valiantly growing in the little cracks in the sidewalks and the crumbling cement around telephone poles. When I moved to North Carolina, I missed them and looked in assorted seed catalogues without luck. Thompson & Morgan had toadflax, same flower, homely nomenclature, but they'd fancified it into multiple colors -- not the same.
I was properly armed for my search: toadflax, Scrophularia, Linaria, butter and eggs all ready to feed to Google along with Utah and wildflower.
And the winner was... Linaria dalmatica, Dalmatian Toadflax, classified by the USDA as a Noxious Weed. Dang!
So I searched out my childhood favorite, Linaria vulgaris. Turned out it's a Noxious Weed too. Double Dang!
So what do I do now? That sweet lady gave me an illegal alien. I'm a Master Gardener, I want to run down the street and pull up all the donkey tail spurge, Euphorbia myrsinitis, a neighbor planted on her side yard because I know it's a Noxious Weed, and now I'm harboring an illegal plant in my watering can.
Don't tell the county agent!