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Bastard Toadflax

This is a tiny flower that grows amongst short turf on limestone soils and as a result it is a nationally scarce plant as the conditions it needs are rare. It is also difficult to find and very difficult to photograph as it is so small (this is very much a 'could do better' photograph I am using!).

It is a semi-parasitic plant getting some of its nutrients by taking advantage of nearby grasses. That may be the origin of the first part of its name but it is not a member of the toadflax family so where that comes from is anyones guess!

For those of a more sensitive nature who might find bastard toadflax a bit offensive a new name has recently been coined for this plant and it is now also known as stars in the grass because of the five pointed petals that are arranged in a star shape.


Common Name Bastard Toadflax
Alternative Name(s) Stars in the Grass
Scientific Name Thesium humifusum
Family Sandalwood family - Santalaceae
Status Rare
Interest Level
Flower Colour Group White
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
Preferred Environment
Look for Tiny white star-shaped flowers in short turf
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Simple Flowers