Big snapdragon

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Big snapdragon
Great snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) in Spain

Great snapdragon ( Antirrhinum majus ) in Spain

Euasterids I
Order : Mint family (Lamiales)
Family : Plantain family (Plantaginaceae)
Tribe : Antirrhineae
Genre : Snapdragons ( Antirrhinum )
Type : Big snapdragon
Scientific name
Antirrhinum majus

Large snapdragon ( Antirrhinum majus ) or Garden snapdragon is a plant that the family of plantain plants belongs (Plantaginaceae).


Illustration with inflorescence, structure of the flower, leaves and fruit

The snapdragon is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches heights of 20 to 120 centimeters. However, the varieties are mostly grown as annual plants . The above glandular stem is cylindrical, sometimes woody to the middle. The opposite leaves are simple, elliptical or ovate to broadly lanceolate, sometimes linear and usually bare. Stipules are missing.

Usually 8 to 30 short-stalked flowers stand together in one inflorescence ; the inflorescence axis is hairy glandular. The hermaphrodite flower is zygomorphic . The calyx lobes are egg-shaped. The crown is 25 to 45 (rarely up to 70) millimeters long and of different colors (red, pink, orange, yellow, white). The “throat” of the crown is closed by the protuberance of the lower lip, which is called “masked”, and the base is everted like a sack. The lower lip bulge usually has a yellow mark. There is a circle with four stamens . The ovary is on top. The flowering period extends from June to September.

The large, glandular capsule fruit releases the seeds through pore openings and extends far beyond the calyx when ripe.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 16. or 24.


The distribution area of ​​the wild forms of the snapdragon is the Mediterranean area from Morocco and Portugal to France and to Turkey and Syria . They often grow in crevices and walls. The snapdragon is a species of the Centrantho-Parietarion association. The numerous cultivated forms are grown worldwide in the temperate zones . They tend to run wild.


Antirrhinum majus subsp. linkianum

The following subspecies are known:

  • Antirrhinum majus L. subsp. majus : home to southern France and northeastern Spain.
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. cirrhigerum (Ficalho) Franco : native to southern Portugal and southwestern Spain.
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. linkianum (Boiss. & Reut.) Rothm. : It is endemic to western Portugal. It has the chromosome number 2n = 16.
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. litigiosum (Pau) Rothm. : This subspecies is also called Antirrhinum barrelieri subsp. litigiosum (Pau) O. Bolòs & Vigo to Antirrhinum barrelieri . Your home is southeastern Spain.
  • Antirrhinum majus subsp. tortuosum (Bosc) Rouy : It occurs in the entire range of the species.
Variety of the garden snapdragon


The snapdragon is widely used as an ornamental plant in borders and as a cut flower. It is usually cultivated as an annual. The species has been in culture since the 15th century. There are numerous varieties in different groups of varieties.


The scientific name comes from the Greek αντί = "equal", "like" and ῥίς, -ινοϛ = "nose". Majus is Latin and means “greater” but also “May”, whereby it should be noted that the month of May got its name from the Roman growth god Majus. Linnaeus , who gave the plant the addition majus, clearly thought of the meaning of majus as larger and not of May and thus raised the snapdragon against the small toadflax ( Chaenorhinum minus (L.) Lange , syn .: Antirhinum minus L . ), which today still has the term minus in the meaning of smaller.

Common names

Or as to the big lion's mouth were, some only regionally, including the names Froschgoscherl ( Austria ), Maulauferl ( Upper Austria ), Armsünderkraut , Big Dorant ( Thuringia ), dog's head ( Silesia ), veal jaw ( Switzerland ), calf nose (Silesia), Leuarächali ( St. Gallen ), Leuenmaul (Switzerland), Liwenmeltcher ( Transylvania ), Saccarellenkrut ( Rendsburg pharmacy), Schnurra (St. Gallen near Gaster ) and Sterkbandt ( Middle High German ) in use.


Incomplete dominance - Antirrhinum majus.png
Antirrhinum variant without zygomorphic flower shape

In the garden snapdragon there is an intermediate inheritance of the flower colors through incomplete dominance (see Mendel's rules ). The genus Antirrhinum is used in molecular genetic research as a model organism for the study of inheritance mechanisms and development. Antirrhinum majus is suitable for this due to its properties as a diploid plant, easy to cultivate with generation intervals of only four months, self-pollination and cross-pollination as well as its variation in morphology and flower color.

Antirrhinum majus has also been used to study the relationship between pollinators and plants, discussing the evolutionary advantages of the conical-papillary shape of the petals. There is evidence that the shape intensifies the color of the flowers, which helps orient the pollinators through sight or touch. This model plant has the advantage that a mutation at the MIXTA locus has been identified that prevents the formation of this conical petal shape. This made it possible to study pollinators with and without conical petals and to compare light absorption between these two groups. Since the MIXTA gene is necessary for the formation of conical cells, the use of the gene in the cultivation of antirrhinum was crucial and allowed experiments to be carried out to show why many plants produce conical-papillary epidermal cells.

Flower scents were also analyzed. Two A. majus enzymes, phenylpropanoids and isoprenoids, appear to play a role in the formation of the floral fragrances and in attracting pollinators.

supporting documents


  • Eckehart J. Jäger, Friedrich Ebel, Peter Hanelt, Gerd K. Müller (eds.): Excursion flora from Germany . Founded by Werner Rothmaler. tape 5 : Herbaceous ornamental and useful plants . Springer, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8274-0918-8 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Siegmund Seybold : Flora of Germany and neighboring countries. A book for identifying vascular plants that grow wild and often cultivated . Founded by Otto Schmeil , Jost Fitschen . 93rd completely revised and expanded edition. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2006, ISBN 3-494-01413-2 .
  2. a b Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8th, heavily revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 , pp. 828 .
  3. a b Antirrhinum majus at In: IPCN Chromosome Reports . Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  4. ^ A b David A. Sutton: A revision of the tribe Antirrhineae. Oxford University Press, London / Oxford 1988, ISBN 0-19-858520-9 , pp. 90-96.
  5. a b Karol Marhold, 2011: Scrophulariaceae. : barrelieri & PTRefFk = 7200000 data sheet Antirrhinum barrelieri In: Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity.
  6. ^ Georg August Pritzel , Carl Jessen : The German folk names of plants. New contribution to the German linguistic treasure. Philipp Cohen, Hannover 1882, p. 35, online.
  7. ^ Neil Campbell and Jane Reece : Biology. Spektrum-Verlag Heidelberg-Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-8274-1352-4 , page 302.
  8. Andrew Hudson, Johanna Critchley, Yvette Erasmus: The Genus Antirrhinum (Snapdragon): A Flowering Plant Model for Evolution and Development
  9. Yuji Kishima: Tam3transpositionandmethylation
  10. SN Hashida, T. Uchiyama, C. Martin, Y. Kishima, Y. Sano, T. Mikami: The temperature-dependent change in methylation of the Antirrhinum transposon Tam3 ​​is controlled by the activity of its transposase. In: The Plant cell. Volume 18, number 1, January 2006, pp. 104-118, doi : 10.1105 / tpc.105.037655 , PMID 16326924 , PMC 1323487 (free full text).
  11. Beverley J. Glover, Cathie Martin: The role of petal cell shape and pigmentation in pollination success in Antirrhinum majus
  12. Andrew Hudson, Johanna Critchley, Yvette Erasmus: The Genus Antirrhinum (Snapdragon): A Flowering Plant Model for Evolution and Development

Web links

Commons : Big Snapdragon  album with pictures, videos and audio files