The “skull & bones” plant

A bit of botany

On the Arrosoirs & Sécateurs forum a member asked for the identification of a fruit capsule that looked like a skull and crossbones. The answer was quickly found, although … not quite.

In fact, there are several species of plants whose fruit capsule can evoke a “skull and crossbones”:
– a wild plant, Misopates orontium;
– a horticultural plant, the snapdragon Antirrhinum majus nicknamed ‘snapdragon’.

As a result I remembered that I had a specimen of snapdragon in my herbarium and also on my online flora. I have just photographed a (dry) fruit of this species, kept in my herbarium. It is a “rasta” variant of the skull. 

Misopates orontium (L.) Raf. 26/08/2009

For the English, the green fruit evokes rather a weasel’s or calf’s snout!

Like a number of other species, the snapdragon (Misopates orontium) has recently changed botanical family from Scrophulariaceae to Plantaginaceae. Which reminds me that I still have a small packet of plants in my herbarium to rename…

Herbarium page

Fruit capsule