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Bastard Toadflax


Common Name Bastard Toadflax

Latin Name: Comandra umbellata

[Pronounced: "coh-MAN-drah um-bell-ATE-uh"]

Type of Plant: Prairie Forb ("wildflower")

Identification Helps: This is an uncommon, small, even inconspicuous white flowered plant. The cluster of small white flowers is helpful.

Similar Species: There are no similar prairies species in Ohio.

Preferred Growing Conditions in the Wild: This plant grows only on porous, well-drained soils, both in prairies and savanna environments.

Seasons of Growth and Bloom: This low forb blooms in late May and June.

Natural Distribution in Ohio: It is apparently found throughout the state, but only on dry or porous soils.

Description and General Information: Comandra umbellata is interesting in that it is known to be partially parasitic on other plants. Its leaves are green and it obviously creates sugars from photosynthesis like all green plants. But it also chemically extracts nutrients from adjacent plants, but in such reduced amounts that they are seldom harmed.

The plant often grows in large masses connected by rhizomes.


The species may be more common than generally recognized, as it is easily overlooked. But again, it only grows in light, well-drained soils.