The Dragon’s Skull: The macabre appearance of Snapdragon seed pods
The snapdragon has been a popular garden plant for many years. Also known as the dragon flower, its common name derives from the resemblance of the flower to a dragon’s head.
When laterally squeezed the dragon will open and close it mouth. Yet once the flower has died, leaving behind the seed pod, something a little more macabre appears. The dragon – just a visual metaphor after all – appears to have a skull.
Little wonder, then, that ancient cultures held the snapdragon to possess supernatural powers. They were thought to offer protection from deceit, curses and witchcraft if they were planted in your garden. Another myth maintains that they are able to restore youthfulness and beauty to any woman who ate them. It’s a wonder that the witches didn’t raid the gardens in which they grew to repair their own ravaged features.
Concealing a snapdragon about the body was supposed to make a person appear gracious and fascinating. Perhaps it is for this reason that in the Victorian language of flowers, the snapdragon was designated to symbolize deception and presumption. It could also, however, be sent by a lady to show gratitude to another.