This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This is a southern type of plant, and does not occur in early deposits. It is found in the N. Temperate Zone, South of Denmark, North Africa, N. and W. Asia, N.W. India, and is introduced in N. America. In Great Britain it is found in the Peninsula, Channel, Thames, and Anglia provinces, except in Hunts and Northants; in the Severn province, except in Monmouth and Warwick. In S. Wales it is found in Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Pembroke; in N. Wales in Merioneth, Carnarvon, Denbigh, Anglesey; and in N.E. York and Cumberland. It is very rare in Ireland, and occurs in the Channel Islands. It was regarded by Watson entirely as a colonist.
The Small Snapdragon is found chiefly on chalky and cretaceous soils in the south and centre of England, especially in cornfields, but sometimes on railway banks; and in cultivated ground it is accompanied by such plants as Mousetail, Larkspur, Candytuft, Flax, Cornflower, Venus's Looking Glass, and similar southern types of plants.
The Small Snapdragon is a simple or branched, erect, hairy-stemmed, low plant, with the leaves linear, narrowly elliptical, without stalks, opposite below, the upper ones alternate, turned back, and entire.
The flowers are reddish, solitary, stalkless, in the axils or in a leafy raceme, with a calyx with 5 linear segments that do not fall, equalling or longer than the corolla, the upper ones being longest. The corolla is striped with veins, with a yellow palate or throat, somewhat hairy. The capsule is stalked, with angular, black seeds.
The plant may be 1 ft. high. July to September is the flowering season. It is annual, and increased from seeds.
The flower has much the same structure as in the Toadflax, being closed and accessible only to humble bees, and the stamens and pistil are arranged in such a way that other insects could not bring about pollination. Both anthers and stigma ripen together. The upper and lower lip (which opens by a spring) close the tube of the corolla. The stamens are under the upper lip, in pairs, the two longer stamens projecting.
The flowers are larger in A. majus and the entrance is more tightly closed, whilst the nectaries and honey receptacles are differently placed. The honey is secreted by the green, smooth, fleshy base of the ovary, of which the upper part is pale and covered with fine hairs, remaining fixed to the downy nectary and the base of the anterior stamens. The short, wide spur allows the insect to reach the honey with its proboscis from below. Above and in front there is a thick fringe of stiff, knobbed hairs on the angles of the anterior stamens, Pollen is deposited on the back of the bee.
The capsule opens by the bursting of I pore above and 2 below, and the seeds fall around the parent plant.
The Small Snapdragon is a lime-loving plant, and requires a lime or chalk soil, being found mainly on chalk, limestone, or oolite.
A moth, Mamestra persicariae, is found upon it.
Antirrhinum, Theophrastus, is from the Greek anti, and rhin, nose, from the snout-shaped flower; and Orontium, Dodonaeus, is an old mediaeval generic name for Snapdragon. It is called Calf-snout.
Photo. A. R. Horwood. - Small Snapdragon (Antirrhinum Orontium, L.)
This species is distinguished by the absence of a spur, in being-annual, and having long pointed leaves in the calyx, whilst they are short and obtuse in A. majus.
Essential Specific Characters: 230. Antirrhinum Orontium, L. - Stem short, leaves narrow, linear lanceolate, flowers purple, in a loose spike, sepals exceeding the corolla, linear.