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Antirrhinum magus

On May 28, 1767 Jefferson observed "Snap-dragon" blooming at Shadwell, his childhood home.1 and four years later, he listed this native of southern Europe among the hardy flowers to be naturalized in a "shrubbery" at Monticello.2 Jefferson's reference is the earliest known mention of this plant in an American source .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 an excellent example of a flower whose appearance has changed little in three hundred years, and Jefferson's Snapdragon might have been the purple-flowering species that now grows wild throughout southern Europe. The snapdragon is a summer-blooming flower grown as an annual with deep wine-red blossoms on upright stems.

- Peggy Cornett, n.d.

Further Sources

Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Snapdragon.
Growth Type: 
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10
Location at Monticello: 
West Lawn
Planting Conditions: 
Full Sun
Blooming History: 
May 11, 2001 to November 8, 2001April 25, 2002 to June 28, 2002May 13, 2003 to July 14, 2003May 14, 2004 to August 13, 2004June 10, 2005 to June 23, 2005May 24, 2006 to December 1, 2006May 29, 2007 to November 15, 2007June 6, 2008 to October 13, 2008May 29, 2009 to September 1, 2009May 24, 2010 to September 1, 2010June 7, 2011 to August 15, 2011May 24, 2012 to July 20, 2012June 2, 2014 to July 17, 2014June 1, 2017 to November 10, 2017May 30, 2018 to October 17, 2018June 2, 2019


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