Information on Snapdragon

Common Name: Snapdragon
Scientific Name: Antirrhinum majus
Irish Name: Srubh lao
Family Group: Plantaginaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Snapdragon is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

This popular, perennial garden plant has found its way into the 'wild', to a large extent by being discarded along with garden waste; it is now naturalised and appears, away from cultivated sites, on old walls and bare, rough ground. Growing to an erect 80 cm, it bears pink-red flowers (30-45 mm) in terminal racemes. These distinctive flowers have two lips which form a mouth through which visiting pollinators must push. The lower lip serves as a landing pad which, with the pressure of the bee's weight on it, causes the throat to open, allowing it to progress, head-first, into the broad pouch where it finds its nectar. It is a bushy plant with narrow, ovate, untoothed leaves. Flowering from June to September, it belongs to the Plantaginaceae family.     

I first saw this plant, growing away from habitation, near Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford in 2008 and photographed it in 2009. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

The name 'Antirrhinum' comes from the Greek for 'like a nose'. As a child, along with many others, I would squeeze the two sides of the flower and the mouth would snap open. I imagined it was like a dragon's mouth opening to roar and breathing a tongue of flame.