Interesting Facts About The Common Ornamental Plant Antirrhinum Majus

Antirrhinum majus is a cold-season plant; it is widely cultivated in Europe’s northern ranges and elsewhere in temperate regions of the world.

Interesting Facts About The Common Ornamental Plant Antirrhinum Majus

The name Antirrhinum majus derives from Greek anti, here meaning ‘like’, and rhis, rhinos, ‘nose’, probably referring to the nose-like capsule in its mature state, and majus from the Latin comparative of magnus, the former meaning ‘larger, pertaining to the large size of the flowers.

Commonly, it is known as a dragon flower or snapdragon (its flowers resemble the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed, hence the name). The flower is a member of the genus Antirrhinum, which includes 36 species.

It belongs to the family Plantaginaceae (synonymous with Veronicaceae). The plant was first observed by Blasdale in 1896. At first, it was confined to the Pacific Coast but suddenly appeared in an area of Chicago in 1913, from where it spread to Mexico and Canada. It has appeared in England, where it will probably become widespread because of the very favourable climatic conditions.

Antirrhinum majus is a cold-season plant; it is widely cultivated in Europe’s northern ranges and elsewhere in temperate regions of the world. Floral Showers: Deep Bronze and Montego Pink. It grows well in light sandy and medium loamy soils that have good drainage but are nutrient-poor. It can grow in shady and semi-shady areas that are dry and moist.

It is native to the Mediterranean region. Distributed in Africa (Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Algeria): Europe (Italy, Greece, Malta, France, Spain, and Portugal): Asia (Iraq, Palestine, and Turkey)

Today, it is widely cultivated for its great variety and different colors. Antirrhinum is a summer-flowering perennial plant. The Snapdragon is one of the major flowers that is growing because of its beauty and variety of colors. Unhappily, the growth of snapdragon in Pakistan is not yet established. It is imported from another country.

It is an annual plant that usually reaches a height of about 2–3 feet, but when planted in the landscape, it can attain a height of 6 feet. Leaves are lanceolate in shape and about 3 inches long.

Flowers are terminal and racemose types of inflorescence. Most flowers bloom in late spring. Individual flowers reach from 1.5 to 2 inches long and are very showy. The species is hermaphrodite and entomophilous. The plant is usually self-fertile. The growth and flowering of Antirrhinum are increased by gibberellic acid.

Wild-type flowers of Antirrhinum exhibit well-marked differences in the shape of the petals. In their dorsoventral axis and single plane of symmetry. The snapdragon cut flowers are sensitive to ethylene and have relatively short vase lives. Each flower has five sepals, five petals, four stamens, one staminode, and two carpels.

There are three types of petals: a pair of dorsal upper petals, a pair of lateral side petals, and one ventral lowest petal. Four petals, including the two dorsal and two lateral petals, are individually asymmetric, while one ventral petal has bilateral symmetry. It is also evident that, being bisected by the dorsoventral axis, the dorsal stamen form staminodes, and the pair of lateral stamen are shorter than the ventral stamen.

Antirrhinum flowers come in a variety of different shades of colour: white, yellow, red, pink, orange, peach, and purple. There are many different techniques that are used to improve the flower’s color. In snapdragon, the hybridization technique generated different colours.

These varieties of colour are helpful for plants because they are more easily pollinated by insects due to their showy colour and also increase their market value. The trade of cut flowers runs into billions of dollars around the world, and it plays a role in the economy of a country.

Netherlands, which serves as the centre of the cut flower trade. In the Netherlands, a large number of flowers are sold through auctions. During the past few decades, flower production has increased. Today, cut flower production is dynamic.

In the 1950s, the trade in global cut flowers was less than 3 billion US dollars, and in 1992, it had grown to 100 billion US dollars. The flower industry is growing 6% annually, and the global volume of cut flower trade in 2003 was US$101.84 billion.

In Pakistan, cut flower exports started in 1996–97 for the first time, and it exported 87734 kg of cut flowers worth 3.51 million rupees. It has been reported that in 2001-02, cut flower exports increased up to 126354 kg, which is about 8.0 million rupees. Cut flower export generates 35 million rupees in Pakistan.

There are many compounds present in Antirrhinum majus. It contained anthocyanidins, flavonols (apigenin 7,4′-diglucuronide, luteolin 7-glucuronide, chrysoeriol 7-glucuronide, kampferol 3-glucoside, and kampferol 3,7-diglucoside), flavones, aurones, flavanones, and cinnamic acids. Geissman etc. 

Growing the plants for cut flowers, the seeds have been used to extract edible oils, particularly in Russia. The seed oil of Antirrhinum majus is a good source of oil (12.3%). Neutral lipids in the oil were the highest, and linoleic and oleic accounted for 88% of the total fatty acids.

Snapdragon seed oil is characterised by a relatively high amount of phytosterols, wherein the sterol marker is sitosterol. All tocopherol isomers were present, wherein -tocopherol constituted 81% of the total tocopherol content, followed by -tocopherol (ca. 14.3%).

Snapdragon seed oil had higher radical scavenging activity (RSA) against 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals and galvinoxyl radicals than extra virgin olive oil.

Flowers are edible and a great source of vitamins. They could be used in green salads or infusion teas. Snapdragon flowers consist of different combinations of colourful petals like pink, purple, white, yellow, and orange. Its beautiful flowers are most commonly used for decorative purposes, bouquet gifts, and other elegant dessert preparations.

Antirrhinum majus is an ornamental plant that is cultivated for its beautiful flowers. Variation in colour is due to different pigments that are sources of dye. It has antimicrobial, insecticidal, and antioxidant properties. Edible oil is also obtained from its seeds. Traditionally, it has also been used for the treatment of many diseases, including liver disorders and tumors.

If it is properly cultivated, it could contribute to the cut flower industry. This business can become Pakistan’s second-largest export sector after textiles if the government of Pakistan encourages the cut flower growers by facilitating them to provide better technology in year-round production, refrigerated transportation, and exploring more foreign markets.

Zil e Haleefa, Dr. Syed Aneel Gilani, Ms. Shehnaz Zakia, and Dr. Amir Hussain Khaki from the Botonical Sciences Division, Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Shakarparian, Islamabad.