Mature Snapdragon Flowers Remain Closed

July 29, 2022



Photographer: Menashe Davidson 

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

The time of flower opening marks the onset of a period in which pollinators are attracted by the flower sweetness, leading a pollen removal and pollination. In many species the flowers are open permanently, whereby the opening period is terminated by a closure movement, or by petal withering or abscission. But there are few species, such as snapdragons, where mature flowers stay closed.

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus, family Plantaginaceae) have a wide range of flower colors, and they’re easily grown in gardens. The snapdragon flowers are closed flowers (top photo) with two modified petals, described as lips, that essentially prevent honeybees from penetrating them. Note, however, that the flowers can be opened when they're pressed on their sides (bottom photo). Here we can see the inside of the flower, where there are four stamens with white filaments surrounding a pistil (green stalk). Bumblebees, which are much bigger than honeybees, are the main pollinators for snapdragons because they’re larger size permits them to open the closed flowers. Photos taken in March 2022, from my home garden in Rishon LeZion, Israel.


Rishon LeZion, Israel Coordinates 31.9730, 34.7925

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