Snapdragon

COMMON NAME:  snapdragon
Genus:  Antirrhinum
SPECIES:  A. majus
FAMILY:  Scrophulariaceae
BLOOMS:  late spring
TYPE:  annual
DESCRIPTION:  Snapdragons have delighted many generations of children with their brightly colored mouths that open when the flowers are pressed on the sides. Flowers are borne on long stalks and occur in all colors except blue. The flowers open at the bottom of the stalk first. Plant breeders have enjoyed working with tis flower, and it is now possible to get snapdragons in a variety of heights {from 8 to 36 inches}, colors, and flower forms.
CULTIVATION:  Snapdragons will do best in well-drained soils located in full sun. They like abundant amounts of calcium, neutral soils, regular watering, and periodic feedings with a liquid fertilizer. Plant seeds indoors in late winter, or sow seeds directly into the flower beds in spring.

Many common names for this plant refer to the shape of the blossoms. Toad’s mouth, dog’s mouth, or lion’s mouth all refer to the fact that if you squeeze the blossoms in just the right way, the petals open to reveal a yawning mouth. The seed pods look a bit like a nose or a snout, and this has given rise to names like calves’ snout. The botanical name also refers to this characteristic, for Antirrhinum  is from two Greek words, anti, meaning “like,” and rhinos, meaning “snout.”
Snapdragon is native to southern Europe and is now naturalized in many places in Europe. In Mediterranean areas the plants were once cultivated for the seeds, which contain high amounts of oil. Thought of poorer quality, this oil was used like olive oil. Superstition said that he who was anointed with the oil of snapdragon would become famous.
The plant has no medicinal value, but the oil from the seeds was supposed to ward off witchcraft and sorcery.
Snapdragon depends almost entirely on bumblebees for pollination. Because of the design of the blossoms, honey bees are not heavy enough to pollinate it successfully.

The bright colored blossoms are good for dyeing cloth.

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