Chaenorhinum minus (Dwarf Snapdragon)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Scrophulariaceae (Figwort)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed soil; waste areas, urban landscapes
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:4 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular

[photo of flowers] Small, irregular snapdragon like flowers arise singly in the leaf axils throughout plant. Flowers are bluish to purplish white, ¼-1/3 inch long with a flat upper hood divided into two rounded lobes and a lower lip, bulging across the middle, with three rounded lobes below, the 2 lateral lobes often curled up a bit. A short spur extends at the back of the flower (see next photo). The 5 sepals are green to purple and covered in glandular hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are mostly alternate but may be opposite near the base, narrowly oblong to spatula shaped, ½-1¼ inch long, toothless, broadly rounded at the tip and narrowed at the base, with little or no stalk, and may be purplish at the tip and/or the underside. The plant has fine glandular hairs throughout. Stems are erect and much branched.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a small, erect oval, globe-like capsule, 1/5 inch long, in the leaf axil. The capsule dries to a tan color


Chaenorhinum minus, formerly Chaenorrhinum minus (with 2 r's), is the only species of this European genus to become widely established throughout North and Central America. Common throughout Illinois up through New England, it is not widely reported in Minnesota but its diminuative size and preference to marginal waste areas makes it easily overlooked.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Lake County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Country Inn Suites in Alexandria, Douglas County, in the concrete cracks and rocked landscape, and at public boat ramp in Silver Bay, Lake County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Arthur G. - Grand Portage
on: 2016-09-19 04:30:24

Found this plant growing along roadsides at Grand Portage National Monument. I was familiar with it as a railroad ballast weed in Illinois. A mousey little species with a rather disagreeable clammy texture from the glandular hairs.

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