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Linaria is a native of Europe, but is naturalized in this country, where it is common in waste places, and sometimes becomes so plentiful in fields as to become a nuisance. When fresh the plant has a nauseously unpleasant odor, which it loses for the most part upon drying. Its taste is subacrid, bitter, and slightly saline. It should be gathered when in bloom, which is in July and August, quickly and carefully dried, and placed in close containers protected from light and air. A yellow coloring substance (anthokirrin) was obtained by Rigel, in 1843, from the blossoms. Walz, in 1854, isolated antirrhinic acid (a peculiar volatile substance); linarosmin (an oily residue from the distillation with water); bitter crystalline linariin, an acrid resin linaracrin, and tannic and citric acids, gum, sugar, mineral matters.
Bioessays. 2000 Mar;22(3):209-13.
Evolutionary developmental genetics of floral symmetry: the revealing power of Linnaeus' monstrous flower.
Max-Planck-Institut fur Zuchtungsforschung, Abteilung Molekulare Pflanzengenetik, Carl-von-Linne-Weg 10, D-50829 Koln, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org
Actinomorphic flowers have several planes of reflectional symmetry while zygomorphic flowers have just one. In a number of independent cases, actinomorphic flowers have arisen from zygomorphic ones during evolution. A famous example, studied by Linnaeus, is an actinomorphic variety of the common toadflax Linaria vulgaris. It has been shown now that this mutant carries a defect in LCYC, a homolog of the CYC gene, which controls zygomorphy in Antirrhinum majus.((1)) Interestingly, the mutant phenotype is not due to changes in the LCYC nucleotide sequence but rather to an extensive, heritable methylation of the gene.((1)) A second gene controlling zygomorphy in snapdragon, DICH, has recently also been shown to be a CYC homolog and both genes share significant sequence similarity with TB1, one of the key genes of maize domestication. The respective family of genes, probably encoding transcription factors, might thus become both a useful instrument and a target of future plant evolutionary developmental genetics