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Botanical Name :Antirrhinum
Common Names :snapdragons or dragon flowers
Habitat :Antirrhinum resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed. They are native to rocky areas of Europe, the United States, and North Africa
Snapdragons are often considered as cold-season annual plants and do best in full or partial sun, in well drained soil (although they do require regular watering. They are classified commercially as a range of heights: dwarf (6-8 inches), medium (15-30 inches) and tall (30-48 inches).
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Snapdragon is a typical example of incomplete dominance by the red allele with the anthocyanin pigment. Any cross between red-flowered and white-flowered snapdragons, give an intermediate and heterozygous phenotype with pink flowers, that carries both the dominant and recessive alleles.
Antirrhinum used to be treated within the family Scrophulariaceae, but studies of DNA sequences have led to its inclusion in a vastly enlarged family Plantaginaceae. The taxonomy of this genus is unresolved at present. At one extreme, the USDA Plants Database recognises only the Old World species of sect. Antirrhinum in the genus, listing only A. majus (the garden snapdragon, the only species in the section naturalised in North America). At the other, Thompson (1988) places 36 species in the genus; many modern botanists accept this circumscription. New species also continue to be discovered (see e.g. Romo et al., 1995).
Recent research in the molecular systematics of this group, and related species, by Oyama and Baum (2004), has confirmed that the genus as described by Thompson is monophyletic, provided that one species (A. cyathiferum) is removed to a separate genus, and two others (previously listed as Mohavea confertiflora and M. breviflora) are included. The species list at the right follows these conclusions. It is widely agreed that this broad group should be subdivided into three or four subgroups, but the level at which this should be done, and exactly which species should be grouped together, remain unclear. Some authors continue to follow Thompson in using a large genus Antirrhinum, which is then divided into several sections; others treat Thompson’s genus as a tribe or subtribe, and divide it into several genera.
If the broad circumscription is accepted, its sections are as follows:
*Section Antirrhinum: about 20 Old World species of perennial plants, the type Antirrhinum majus, mostly native to the western Mediterranean region with a focus on the Iberian Peninsula.
*Section Orontium: two to six species, also Mediterranean. The species in this section, including the type Lesser Snapdragon A. orontium, are often treated in the genus Misopates.
*Section Saerorhinum: about 16 New World species, mostly annual plants and mostly native to California, though species are found from Oregon to Baja California Sur and as far east as Utah. Like other authors, Thompson placed A. cyathiferum in this section, but Oyama and Baum, following earlier authors, suggest that it should be reclassified in genus Pseudorontium, while Mohavea confertiflora and M. breviflora should be included. Some authors classify the species in this section into the genera Sairocarpus, Howelliella and Neogaerrhinum.
The Garden Snapdragon is an important garden plant; cultivars of this species have showy white, crimson, or yellow bilabiate flowers. It is also important as a model organism in botanical research, and its genome has been studied in detail.
While Antirrhinum majus is the plant that is usually meant of the word “snapdragon” if used on its own, many other species in the genus, and in the family Scrophulariaceae more widely, have common names that include the word “snapdragon”.
Several species of Antirrhinum are self-incompatible, meaning that a plant cannot be fertilised by its own pollen. Self-incompatibility in the genus has been studied since the early 1900s. Self-incompatibility in Antirrhinum species is controlled gametophytically and shares many important features with self-incompatibility systems in Rosaceae and Solanaceae.
Medicinal Action and Uses: The plant has bitter and stimulant properties, and the leaves of this and several allied species have been employed on the Continent in cataplasms to tumours and ulcers.Preparations made from leaves and flowers are used to reduce fever and inflammation. In a poultice, it be applied to the body surface to treat burns, infections and hemorrhoids.
It was valued in olden times like the Toadflax as a preservative against witchcraft.
The numerous seeds yield a fixed oil by expression, said to be little inferior to olive oil, for the sake of which it has been cultivated in Russia.
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