The earliest known mention of this plant in an American source is in Thomas Jefferson's garden book.1 Jefferson first observed the snapdragon flower blooming at his childhood home, Shadwell, in 1767.2 He later listed it among the hardy flowers to be planted in a "shrubbery" at Monticello.3
This southern European native has been cultivated in American gardens since the mid-18th century. Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon included the "Common Snapdragon" in his 1806 American Gardener's Calendar as a biennial flower.4 By the mid-1800s, many snapdragon cultivators had developed a variety of colors and forms. In 1890, however, Peter Henderson noted in his Henderson's Handbook of Plants and General Horticulture that "this plant, in its wild state, is very commonly found growing on the tops of old walls."5 It became a favorite for Victorian bedding schemes.6
The snapdragon is a summer-blooming flower grown as an annual with deep wine-red blossoms on upright stems.