Snapdragon Flower Meaning and Symbolism in Floriography

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum) symbolize grace and strength, thanks to their harsh native habitats. But, the symbolism of snapdragon flowers has evolved throughout history and has come to mean a lot more than just a representation of resilience. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the snapdragon flower’s meaning and symbolism and its many uses and benefits.

Ultimate Guide to Snapdragon Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Etymological Meaning

The name Antirrhinum is from the Greek word for nose (rhin). It translates to nose-like, referencing the interesting shapes of the flowers. The common name is also a reference to the shapes of the flowers and what happens when you squeeze them.

When you push the sides of the bloom together, the flower looks like a dragon’s jaw snapping shut, hence its common name. However, I know these flowers by a slightly different name: dog flowers – which possibly comes from their other Greek name, kynokephelon, meaning dog-headed.

Snapdragon Symbolism in Floriography

Colorful snapdragon flowers in bloom on a sunny day

Snapdragons have developed a myriad of meanings throughout history, all of which make them great for gifting. They’re synonymous with grace and strength due to their tall, upright nature and their harsh native habitats. However, they symbolized something completely different in early history.

Snapdragon Flowers in Medieval Europe

The unique shape of the Snapdragon flower gave rise to many myths during medieval times. Throughout Europe, many believed that it could ward off evil and back luck. As such, they were planted around the borders of cities, hung above cribs to protect children, and turned into necklaces as a mobile protector.

Snapdragon Flowers in Ancient Greece

However, the legends of the Snapdragon’s protective qualities extend to Ancient Rome and Greece. Both believed that snapdragons could protect people from witchcraft, illness, and even poisoning. As such, many people wore these flowers with the belief that they would give them good health and ward off evil.

Snapdragons in the Victorian Era

In the Victorian Language of Flowers, Snapdragons symbolized honesty and truth-telling.

Romantic partners often used the snapdragon as an apology flower. But, their use in romantic situations didn’t end there. Allegedly, in the Victorian language of flowers, forbidden lovers often sent each other these graceful blooms, and now snapdragons also symbolize deception.

While snapdragons now symbolize strength and are often linked to growth and transformation, each color holds its own meaning.

Snapdragon Symbolism by Color

Bushes of yellow, pink, red, and white snapdragon flowers

Pink Snapdragons

Pink Snapdragons perfectly align with the flower’s original meaning of grace and beauty. There are many different pinks to choose from, from a soft and gentle blush to a more intense and bright neon. They are great touches to any bouquet and make beautiful gifts for Mother’s Day.

Purple Snapdragons

Purple Snapdragons are generally associated with spirituality. But, like other purple flowers, they can also symbolize royalty. Gift these to someone you genuinely admire to convey this meaning best.

Red Snapdragons

Deep red Snapdragons symbolize passion and romance. I often prefer gifting red snapdragons to loved ones on special occasions, either paired with classic red roses or on their own.

Yellow Snapdragons

Yellow flowers symbolize positive energy, friendship, and happiness, and yellow Snapdragons are no different. They are great versatile options for any occasion, bound to brighten the recipient’s day no matter the reason. Many common Snapdragon colors feature this color, from a sunny yellow to a gentler cream.

Orange Snapdragons

Fiery orange Snapdragons are also a symbol of positive energy and excitement. This color is ideal for congratulations in the case of a promotion or graduation gift. They can make a warm and captivating display combined with yellow and red to exemplify the summer season.

White Snapdragons

One of the most popular Snapdragon colors, white symbolizes innocence, purity, and grace. This makes them perfect for wedding arrangements or as compliments to any special bouquet.

Suitable Gifting Occasions

Vase with a bunch of pink snapdragon flowers

With so many colors and sizes, Snapdragons are a great gift for almost any occasion. Their overall symbolism of grace and strength makes them perfect for someone you admire, whether that be friends, family, or a close loved one. Choose the right color to match your meaning and tailor the message to the occasion.

The Final Word

With several uses and benefits, along with many special meanings, Snapdragons are flowers that truly have it all. Grow them in your garden or gift them as cut flowers to send a special someone a special message.

Contributing Editor | jade@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Jade is a writer, editor, and photographer with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations. She writes, edits, and photographs for several online publications in the gardening and lifestyle sphere. In her spare time, she reads and nurtures her urban garden and evergrowing houseplant collection.

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