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Species Notebook:

  • Lesser Snapdraggon

    Lesser Snapdragon: the weasels snout

    Post date: Saturday, 22 August, 2015 - 00:00

    Many a private garden has snapdragons growing the in flower borders. Known is horticultural circles as antirrhinums they have a distinctive flower head that has what appears to be a mouth! When you gently squeeze the flower on each side with your finger and thumb so the mouth opens, release and the mouth snaps shut. Watch antirrhinums for a while and you will see a bee land on the lower lip so that the mouth opens and the bee then disappears inside to get to the nectar and pollen.

    The garden antirrhinum has various wild cousins often bearing the name toadflax. The lesser snapdragon (Antirrhinum orontium) is a member of this sub-family of plants and is, as its name implies, just a small version of the garden variety. It has small mauve flowers, grows to about a foot tall, flowers between July and October and thrives in the cultivated soil of gardens and farm fields.

    It is also known as the weasel's snout and if you look closely at the seeds that follow from the flower it is easy to see why.


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