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Antirrhinum majus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Veronicaceae (Speedwell)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Gardens, parks, roadsides, rocky places, walls, wasteland.

Variable in colour, 2 petals
Snapdragon has whorled flowers which are borne on a slender stalk. Flowers can be of various colours including white, yellow, orange, pink, red, peach and purple, and occasionally bicoloured. Snapdragons are named after the shape of their flowers because they resemble the face of a dragon.
An ovoid capsule, containing many seeds, up to 15mm across.
Spirally arranged, simple leaves. The leaves are untoothed, narrow and linear in shape.
Sweet-smelling. Some say this flower smells of apples.
Other Names:
Common Snapdragon, Dog Flower, Garden Snapdragon.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Antirrhinum majus, commonly known as the common snapdragon, is a species of flowering plant in the plantaginaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but it has been widely cultivated and naturalized in many other parts of the world. It's an herbaceous perennial or annual plant, growing to 30-90 cm tall, with opposite, lanceolate leaves 2-8 cm long. The flowers are produced in a dense spike, each flower 1-3 cm long, with a five-lobed, snapdragon-like, pink, red, yellow, purple, or white corolla. The flowers bloom from late spring to early fall. It's commonly used as a garden flower, it can be grown from seed or cuttings and it prefers well-drained soil and full sun.


Snapdragon, or Antirrhinum majus, is a beautiful and popular garden plant that is known for its brightly colored flowers and unique shape. Snapdragon belongs to the Plantaginaceae family, and is native to the Mediterranean region. The plant has been cultivated for centuries for its ornamental value, and there are now many different varieties available, each with their own distinct color and shape.

One of the most interesting features of the Snapdragon is its unique flower shape. The flowers are bilaterally symmetrical, which means that they can be divided into two equal halves along a single plane. The upper lip of the flower is usually much larger than the lower lip, giving the flowers a distinct "snap" shape, which is where the plant gets its common name from. The flowers can come in a wide range of colors, including pink, yellow, orange, red, and white.

Snapdragons are often used as garden plants because they are easy to grow and maintain. They prefer full sun to partial shade, and thrive in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The plant is also relatively drought-tolerant, which makes it a great choice for gardeners who live in hot, dry areas.

In addition to their ornamental value, Snapdragons are also known for their medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and respiratory infections. The leaves and flowers of the plant contain compounds that have both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them effective at fighting off infections and reducing inflammation.

Snapdragons are also used in the field of genetics and biology as a model organism. The plant has a relatively small genome, which makes it easy to study and manipulate. In fact, the plant was one of the first organisms to have its entire genome sequenced, which has helped researchers to better understand the genetic basis of plant development and evolution.

Snapdragon, or Antirrhinum majus, is a beautiful and fascinating plant with a rich history and many uses. Whether you are a gardener looking for an easy-to-grow and visually stunning plant, or a researcher looking to study plant genetics and development, the Snapdragon is a plant that is sure to captivate and inspire.

Beyond their ornamental and medicinal uses, Snapdragons have also played a role in cultural and religious practices. In ancient Greek mythology, the flower was said to have been created by the gods as a symbol of grace and strength. In the language of flowers, Snapdragons are often associated with deviousness or deception, due to their "snap" shape which can resemble a dragon's mouth.

Snapdragons are also frequently used in floral arrangements and bouquets, particularly in weddings and other formal occasions. The flowers can be used to add color and texture to a variety of arrangements, and their unique shape can help to create interesting and eye-catching displays.

In terms of cultivation, Snapdragons can be grown from seeds or cuttings, and they typically bloom in the summer or fall. The plants can be annuals, biennials, or perennials, depending on the specific variety. Some popular Snapdragon varieties include the tall spires of the Rocket series, the dwarf Tom Thumb, and the trailing Montego series, which are often used in hanging baskets.

Snapdragons are generally considered to be non-toxic to humans and animals, although the leaves and stems can be slightly irritating to the skin. It's always a good idea to wear gloves when handling the plant, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

Snapdragon, or Antirrhinum majus, is a versatile and fascinating plant with a wide range of uses and applications. Whether you're a gardener, a florist, a scientist, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, the Snapdragon is a plant that is sure to delight and inspire.

In addition to their diverse uses and applications, Snapdragons have also been the subject of research in the field of botany. Scientists have studied the genetics and molecular biology of Snapdragons in order to better understand how these plants develop and produce their distinctive flowers.

One area of particular interest is the development of the snapdragon flower's unique shape. This has been found to be controlled by a small set of genes that regulate the growth of the upper and lower lips of the flower. Through genetic and molecular analyses, researchers have been able to identify and characterize these genes, providing valuable insights into the mechanisms of flower development and evolution.

Snapdragons have also been used in genetic engineering research. By manipulating the genes responsible for flower development, scientists have been able to produce new varieties of Snapdragon with novel flower shapes and colors. This has important implications for both horticulture and basic plant biology research.

Beyond their scientific and practical applications, Snapdragons are simply beautiful plants that bring joy and color to gardens and floral arrangements. Their brightly colored, snap-shaped flowers make a bold and striking statement, while their easy cultivation and hardiness make them a favorite of gardeners around the world.

Whether you're looking to add some color and beauty to your garden or floral arrangements, or you're interested in exploring the genetics and biology of plant development, Snapdragons are a fascinating and rewarding plant to grow and study. With their rich history, diverse uses, and striking appearance, these plants are sure to captivate and inspire.

Another interesting aspect of Snapdragons is their pollination ecology. The snap-shaped flowers are adapted for pollination by bees and other insects, which are able to easily land on the lower lip of the flower and crawl into the upper lip to collect nectar and pollen. The shape of the flower also helps to guide the insect's movement, ensuring that they come into contact with the stigma and transfer pollen between flowers.

In addition to their role as pollinators, bees and other insects also play an important role in the conservation of Snapdragon populations. As habitat loss and other threats continue to impact plant populations around the world, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the ecology of these plants and their interactions with other organisms in their environment.

It's worth noting that Snapdragons are not just a favorite of humans, but are also enjoyed by a variety of wildlife. In addition to bees and other pollinators, the plant is also used as a food source by birds, butterflies, and other animals. By growing Snapdragons in your garden, you can help to support a healthy and diverse ecosystem, while also enjoying the beauty and elegance of this remarkable plant.

Snapdragons have also been used in traditional medicine for their purported therapeutic properties. In particular, the plant has been used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, as well as for the treatment of respiratory infections and other conditions.

One active component of Snapdragons is a group of compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to have a wide range of biological effects, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. The presence of these compounds in the plant is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal properties.

While more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of Snapdragons, these plants continue to be used in traditional medicine around the world. Some people also use Snapdragon essential oils or teas as a natural remedy for various ailments.

Overall, Snapdragon, or Antirrhinum majus, is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and a wide range of uses and applications. Whether you're interested in gardening, floral design, plant biology, traditional medicine, or simply the beauty of the natural world, the Snapdragon is a plant that is sure to captivate and inspire.


Snapdragon filmed at these 2 locations:
  • Adlington, Lancashire: 22nd July 2023 and 23rd August 2023
  • Glasson Docks, Lancashire: 30th July 2023

Music credits
Prelude No. 18 by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Distribution Map

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