Commonly known as the Snapdragon, Antirrhinum majus cultivars include some of the most popular garden summer bedding plants. Native to the Mediterranean region, the name 'snapdragon' is surprisingly apt as the flowers has an unusual mechanism. Squeezing the base of the flower will cause its 'mouth' to snap open!
However there is more to this plant than its mechanical party trick. Once the flowers have been pollinated, the seed pods reinforce the dragons head myth further in the most bizarre fashion.
Each seed pod looks like a miniature skull, complete with hollow eye sockets and mouth agape.
Each misshapen skull is unique is and often slightly alien in appearance, and of course has not gone unnoticed by early European cultures who believed that the snapdragon possessed supernatural powers.
If snapdragons were planted in your garden it was thought they would offer protection from deceit, curses and witchcraft. Another myth maintains that they are able to restore youthfulness and beauty to any woman who ate them.
In more modern times, association with the occult had begun to diminished. In the Victorian language of flowers, the snapdragon was used to symbolized deception and presumption. However it could also be sent by a lady to show gratitude to another.
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