by Stephen Mifsud
   30 Jun 2022      ()
External Links:

Chiliadenus bocconei   (Maltese Fleabane)

Chiliadenus bocconei  (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

Contents Links   (Detailed Profile)

Nomenclature Morphology
Plant Description and Characters Plant Information and Uses
Species Images External Links
Support and sales Submit information
Website FORUM
Asteraceae spp. Index Plant Family Index
This profile is brought to you by one of the website's sponsors.
[read more...]
Profile Date Aug-2005 (taxon update: 14-Aug-2017)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2021) Chiliadenus bocconei profile created on Aug-2005. Retrieved from on 30-Jun-2022


Species name :

Chiliadenus bocconei  Brullo

Authority :

Salvatore Brullo, Italy, (1947 - )

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Chiliadenus bocconei
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asteraceae  Bercht. & J.Presl (= Compositae )
(Daisy or Sunflower Family)

English name(s) :

Maltese Fleabane, Pointed-leaved Jasonia

Maltese name(s) :

Tulliera ta' Malta, Tulliera Selvaġġa

Status for Malta :

Endemic. Occurs only on the Maltese islands

Name Derivation :

Chiliadenus: A fruiting compartment (Chilia) covered in glands (denus) with reference to the glandular fruiting parts, although some plants are completely covered with glands secreting a slightly viscous but fragrant compounds. (Greek origin ); 2 = Unknown derivation. It is a genus formed by Cassini which now groups 12 species.
bocconei: 1 = Named after Paolo Boccone (1633-1703), an Italian monk, physician and botanist. (Latin).

Remarks :


Morphology and structure



Growth Form




Erect :

Upright, vertically straight up well clear off the ground.

Highly Branched :

Numerous branches and sub-branches are present but the common main stem is usually tall and well visible.

Glandular Hairs :

Possess hair that bear glands or swellings at their tip.


Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019)







Alternate :

Growing at different positions along the stem axis.

Sessile :

Growing directly from the stem; without a stalk.

Single :

One central main vein (midrib) along leaf axis.


Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019)


Leaf Shape

Leaf Margin



Oblanceolate :

Inverted lance shaped, widest in the upper third part, tapering gradually towards the base of the leaf.

Entire :

Smooth margin without indentations, lobes or any projections.


Leaves give off a strong, pleasant, aromatic smell especially when the plant is young in Spring. The scent is best described as sweetened-camphor.


Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019)




Basic Flower Type

No. of Petals

No. of Sepals



(With a green involucre).

Rayless and Discoid :

Rather inconspicuous flower heads lacking radiating 'petals' (ray florets) and only bear tiny, disc-florets packed on a common receptacle. Such flowerheads normally have a cylindrical, cushion-like or discoid shape.


Rayless flower head. (N.b. the individual tiny florets have 5 lobed tepals).


Referring to the phyllaries of the involucre.


  Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019)







Corymb :

False umbel formed by individual pedicels of different lengths originating from stem alternately and forming a flat-top cluster.

The flower is composed of a group of about 50-80 rayless disc-florets enclosed in a cylindrical green involucre, this made up of numerous phyllaries (arranged in more than 3 rows) that have their pointed tip bending outwards. The stamens/style column of each disc floret is particularly long, about 5mm above the floret petals.

Inferior :

Ovary situated below the flower parts (the calyx, corolla, and androecium). In other words, these are attached above the ovary.

5, Syngenesious :

Ovary situated below the flower parts (the calyx, corolla, and androecium). In other words, these are attached above the ovary.


Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019)



Average Flower Size

Pollen Colour

Other Notes



Sweet scent which is masked by the aromatic scent of the leaves.


(not including the out-bending phyllaries).





No. Per Fruit






Seeds closely packed on a common receptacle.

Achene with Pappus :

A simple one-seeded fruit which has an apical structure of radiating fine light bristles (called pappus) which aid the seed to disperse away by wind. Fruit are found in collective numbers attached to a common receptacle.

3mm c.

(excluding pappus).

Greyish brown

(Pappus straw or beige coloured).


Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019)



Fruit Type

Colour of Fruit

Subterranean Parts

Other Notes


Numerous achenes with pappus :

A collection of achenes with a bristly pappus forming a soft spherical structure. The radiating achenes are attached to a common receptacle and when mature they detach and get dispersed by wind.

Straw colour / Beige

Taproot :

A rooting system where there is the main descending root of a plant having a single dominant large structure from which a network of smaller and long roots emerge.


When young, the pilosity of the leaves is dense and cosnsists of long hairs.


Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019) Online Flora of the Maltese Islands  2002-2019)

Plant description and characters

Life Cycle:


Growth Form:

CHAMEOPHYTE (dwarf or small woody shrubs)


Rocky or stony ground, Cliffs, Garigue, and sometimes walls. Prefers arid places and somewhat coastal zones.



Localities in Malta:

Quite common in several garigues and upper valley sides in Malta and Gozo such as at Dingli, Siggiewi, Mellieha, Wied Babu (Zurrieq), Imtahleb, Bahrija, Pembroke, Wied il-Ghasel, Ta' Cenc, Dwejra, Nadur.

Plant Height:


Flowering Period:


Protection in Malta:

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (25/Sep/2021)

Red List 1989:

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)


Not Poisonous.

This perennial plant is seen in arid, rocky habitats (garigue and scrub) normally as a small bush. The vegetative part is noticable from late spring and it is in flowers during all Summer and even early autumn months. The plant consist of numerous branches diverging away from the main stem, especially from its basal part. These individual branches do not branch again except at the upper part for the formation of inflorescences. The stem of mature plants is woody or reddish brown, snaps easily, and covered with short fine hair.

Leaves are numerous and arranged alternately along the radiating branches. They are sessile, sparingly lanate when young, glandular, somewhat thick, oblanceolate in shape with an entire outline. Usually, the plant forms one large leaf (c. 15-25mm long) and from its axil a cluster of 6-10 alternately arranged smaller leaves (10mm or less) of same shape grows up.

At the top of each branch there is the flowering part, which consists of few flowers (4-12) arranged as a corymb (or sometimes cymose panicles) where the apical bud flowers first, and subsequent lower buds develop next. The corymb is not flat topped, but on the other hand the flowers making the corymb are not distant from each other either.

Each flower basically consists of a group of yellow, rayless disc florets enclosed in a cylindrical involucre. The phyllaries of the involucra are numerous, arranged in 3 or more rows and curve outwards. They are green and not spiny. The flower head consists of about 50-80 disc florets closely packed to each other, where the ones at the periphery open first, and flowering moves progressively to the centre. The disk floret produce a long style, which protrudes out by 5-6mm from star-shaped perianth lobes of the corolla. There are 5 fused stamens around the long style which the latter subdives into 2 curly stigma at its apex.

During the flowering phase, the involucral phyllaries remain upright and tight together forming a barrel (cylindrical) shaped structure, but at the fruiting phase, they become loose and open outwards to accomodate the fruiting achenes.

The fruit actually consists of a collection of single achenes (each developed from a disc floret) which sit on a common flat receptacle. The achene consists of a linear seed, 3mm long and greyish brown in colour, with a pappus at its top. The pappus, which helps in seed dispersal by wind, is un-beaked, simple (unbranched) and have a beige to straw colour. The seed possess fine hairs mostly at its lower part.

The plant is visited by many bees and wasps (eg: Halictus fulvipes), and is a valuable source of food in Summer were many wild plant are not in flower. The leaves (and most of the plant) emit a strong, pleasant, characteristic aromatic scent, similar to 'sweetened camphor'.

Information, uses and other details

Nativity and Distribution

Chiliadenus bocconei is one of the 25+ endemic plants in Malta.   [WWW-97] This endemic plant amongst other endemics are relics from the pre-glacial Mediterranean flora (these are called palaeoendemics) and have no close relatives anywhere else in the world [WWW-98] with the exception of Chiliadenus lopadusanus Brullo, another endemic species from the island of Lampeduse (Italy), situated few tens of km away from Malta [WWW-99]

Use as a herbal tea

A closely related plant - Jasonia glutinosa, is used extensively in Spain, precisely in the territories of the old Crown of Arag�n, to make a herbal tea known as the Aragon Tea or Rock Tea. It is described to have a pleasant 'alcanforado aroma', with a little bitter flavour. The parts used are the flowering parts of the branches.   [407, WWW-95]

The preparation is done as follows: Make an infusion of the plant using 20 to 40 grms in 1 liter of water. Up to 5 cups per day can be taken after the meals.   [WWW-95]

Active components and Medical properties:

The composition of this endemic is not well known, though studies are carried out. Despite that, some notes of the closely related species - Jasonia glutinosa could be shared, based on the article published in journal of ethno-pharmacology by Manuel Pardo de Santayana, Emilio Blanco and Ramon Morales: [407] :
"Jasonia glutinosa contains phenolic acids derived from caffeic acid, flavonoids and essential oils. These oils are rich in camphor, borneol and cis-nerolidol and also contain sesquiterpenic lactones. Its stomachic, antispasmodic and carminative activities have been used to help digestive disorders, but it has also been prescribed to help with colds, as an antidepressive, as a vulnerary, and for whitening the teeth." These authors also specify that Chiliadenus bocconei Brullo was recorded as being rarely used to treat diabetes.

Pharmacology - in vitro anti-inflammatory activity

Sesquiterpenes from Jasonia glutinosa: in vitro anti-inflammatory activity

Four sesquiterpenes isolated from Jasonia glutinosa (Asteraceae), namely lucinone, glutinone, 5-epi-kutdtriol and kutdtriol, have been evaluated for their in vitro anti-inflammatory activity in cellular systems generating cyclooxygenase (COX) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) metabolites. None of the compounds assayed had a significant effect on leukotriene C4 (LTC4)-release from calcium ionophore-stimulated mouse peritoneal cells. However, the release of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) by mouse peritoneal cells stimulated with calcium ionophore was inhibited by these compounds, although with less potency than the reference drug indomethacin (IC50=0.24 microM). The IC50 values of the active compounds were: lucinone 42.69 microM, glutinone 3.61 microM, 5-epi-kutdtriol 1.28 microM and kutdtriol 39 microM. Of the tested compounds, only glutinone (IC50=24 microM) showed a significant effect on thromboxane B2 (TXB2)-release induced by calcium ionophore in human platelets, although with less potency than the reference drug ibuprofen (IC50=1.27 microM).   [333]

Pharmacology - Terpenes with leishmanicidal acitivity

Two species belonging to the Asteraceae family that contain terpenes with leishmanicidal activity are Vernonia brachycalyx and Jasonia glutinosa. The major antiprotozoal metabolite of V. brachycalyx has been identified as the sesquiterpene dilactone 16,17-dihydrobrachycalyoxide, which shows activity (IC50 17 µg ml1) against the promastigote forms of L. major. However, at this same concentration, inhibits the proliferation of human lymphocytes, suggesting that its antiprotozoal activity is due to its general toxicity and that its administration could suppress the immune mechanism in humans.62 On the other hand, kudtriol, a sesquiterpene alcohol obtained from the aerial parts of J. glutinosa, has shown toxic activity against promastigotes of L. donovani at a concentration of 250 µg ml1, and it is proposed that the presence of a C-5 hydroxy group in the a orientation is essential for the expression of its leishmanicidal activity.   [334] (Read the full document found in the links section of this page)

Taxonomy of the Genus Chiliadenus

Padro & Morales   [408] have combined the two species of the genus Chiliadenus - Ch. bocconei Brullo and Ch. lopadusanus Brullo into the genus of Jasonia as J. bocconei (Brullo) Pardo de Santayana & Morales and J. lopadusanus (Brullo) Pardo de Santayana & Morales respectively.

Brullo have created the genus Chiliadenus to accommodate these 2 species which differed from the closely related Jasonia principally in having no ray-florets (Jasonia spp. have disk and ray florets). He also gave other minor differences based on habit and habitat. However, Padro & Morales argued that this difference is too small to be accepted, and so proposed their combination into Jasonia as described above. The gave an example of 2 species of Minuarta, one with ray-florets, and the other without to strengthen their theory that this character is not important. On the other hand, the type of inflorescence in Asteracea namely all ligulate (as in dandelions and chicories), all disk florets (as in thistles and artichokes) or both together (as in daises and sunflowers) is considered a very important character, and perhaps in concurrence with some authors, the species should treated in their borne genus of Chilidenus. Whether the species should be under Jasonia and Chiliadenus is still debatable. The author of this website will stick with Brullo's genus of Chiliadenus, unless Jasonia becomes more widely accepted.

Personal Observations

Maltese coin
The old 50 cents Maltese coin depicts this plant on one of its sides.   [SM]

Common insect visitors of this plant
During my photography sessions on this plant, I frequently noticed a black and white striped wasp feeding on the nectar of its flowers. One could easily see about few to several wasps hovering or feeding on a medium sized plant in Summer Once they are on a flower, they spend at least one minute upon until they hover to the next.    [SM]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Photo Gallery   (43 Images)

Photo of the yellow, rayless (= without petals) flower head.
Sideview photo of flower and a small bud.
Sideview photo of flower showing well the green, cylindrical involucre which holds the composite flower (group of small identical florets). The involucre is made up by many thin and long phyllaries each being arched outwards and with a pointed tip.
This close-up photo shows clearly that the flower is composed of numerous tiny, yellow disc-florets packed side by side. Protruding out from each floret is the long style which splits into 2 curly stigma at the apex.
Photo of young flower. It is known to be young because the blososmed disc-florets are found only at the periphery of the flower, while the immature central florets are still present as buds (no style protruding out).
Close up photo of flower showing the developed florets at the border of the flower. Florets at the border open first and this progress gradually towards the center.
Photo of flower showing the long styles of the florets which splitting in two curly parts - the stigma.
Close up photo of the flower showing detail of the disc florets. Each floret is a tubular structure with a star shaped opening (= 5-lobed tepals). From each disc floret protrudes out the long style, about 5-6mm long. Around the middle-lower part of the style there are the 5 stamens fused together as a single unit (a collar) and seen as a broader part of the style.
Photo of a flower bud.
Photo of inflorescences, described as a corymb or sometimes cymose panicles.
Scanned image of part of a branch. Sessile leaves at most of the branch length and flowers at the upper part.
Scanned image of the flowering part showing a bud at the right, an old flower (fruiting phase) and a mature flower at the left.
Scanned and annotated image of a flower.
Scanned and magnified image of a flower (side view).
Scanned and magnified image of flower (top view) showing detail of the disc florets and floret buds towards the center.
Scanned image of a laterally dissected flower showing disk-florets sitting on the receptacle.
Scanned image of individual florets.
A reddish brown bee visiting a flower of the Maltese fleabane. It seams to be either a type of megachilid bee (eg: Osmia sp.) or a digger bee (eg:Tetralonia sp. ).
A black and white striped wasp/bee with thick black antennae that seems to like the nectar of this flower. It appears to be the Yellow Halictid bee (Halictus fulvipes).
These bees are common visitors of the Maltese fleabane.
Another photo of the yellow halicted bee showing well the 6 black and white stripes on the abdomen.
Sideview photo of Halictus fulvipes feeding on the nectar of the Maltese fleabane flower.
Photo of one branch of the plant showing the arrangement and shape of leaves. These are fleshy (thick), oblanceolate in shape and have numerous glandular white hair.
Scanned image of part of the stem showing detail of the alternately arranged leaves. There is one main leaf from which a group of 6-8 smaller leaves grow up from the leaf axil. All leaves are sessile.
Magnified, scanned image of 4 dissected leaves. Their shape is more or less oblanceolate (inverted lanceolate) and have an entire outline. They also have very short, white hair, which helps to maintain water moisture around the leaves, and so decrease water loss. This plant is in full bloom during the hottest and driest months of Summer.
Photo of plant showing that it consists of many radiating leaf/flower branches from a common main stem at ground level.
Photo of the lower part of stems, coming out from a woody main stem located at ground level.
Photo of a large plant, about 35-40cm in height.
Photo of shrub-like plant.
Photo of plant on rocky ground near the sea coast.
A small plant from a tiny creek in the Coralline Limestone rock. The plant grows well in such arid habitat.
Photo of the flowering branches from a plant situated at Dingli Cliffs.
Photo of plant facing the sea.
Photo of the flowering parts of the plant.
Photo showing habitat of plant - gaps, soil patches and cracks in rocky ground and arid environment.
Photo showing habitat of plant.
Photo showing habitat of plant - tiny soil gaps or pockets in the solid rock.
Photo showing habitat of plant - cliff sides.
Photo of fruit. The involucre, (which before had a cylindrical shape at the flower phase) spreads out perpendicularly to expose the numerous achenes (seeds) to the wind for dispersal. The black top are remnants of dried disc florets. Seeds can be seen at the basal part.
Close up photo of fruit showing in detail the achenes which each consist of a brown seed and a straw-coloured / beige bristly pappus. Fruit/seeds forms during the windy weeks of end of August , September and October, sometimes persisting even in Winter.
Scanned image of fruit showing the spreading phyllaries of the involucre, the flat receptacle, and detail of the numerous achenes sitting on the receptacle.
Scanned and magnified image of typical seeds. They have a pappus that helps dispersal of seeds by wind. The straw-colured pappus is un-beaked and un-branched. Seeds have minute hair.
An old 50 cents Maltese coin depicting this endemic plant on one of its side. Malta have now adopted the Euro currency.

Buy Seeds and Docs
Sales of seeds of wild plants for academic studies, research or personal use. Note that not all species seeds can be exported - depending on Maltese regulations and CITES, and availability depends on season. You are hence kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges. Currently local orders are not taken.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

  Online Purchase (Seeds)
Buy images found in this large online collection of Maltese flora photographed by the author (Stephen Mifsud). Prices reasonable and rated differently according size and resolution. Buying images for your projects will support this website. When placing an order please take note of the image code specific for every image in the corresponding species webpage (found beneath each individual photo) since this is required when filling the online ordering form. Images are normally sold as a license with the copyright reserved to the author, but sales of copyright of exceptional images can be considered.   Online Purchase (Images)
Kindly consider to support this website by giving a small donation. This will help to cover some expenses needed to maintain the website and its further development without and tedious adverts. Please bear in mind that a large and updated website about the flora of Malta requires lot of time and work.   Online Donation

Submit further info on this species
Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
Plant Species:  *
Your name:   * Your Email:   *
Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
Own observations: Info from published material (books, journals, website):
Reference of published material:
Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

1:       2:       3:   
4:       5:       6:   
Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
Section C:  Corrections for mistakes and errors in this plant profile
Section of this page where you found an error (select one)
What is the error/mistake and suggest a correction
AntiSpam Verification: Please answer these simple questions:   40 + 8 =     This website is about
      is supported by:
[ EcoGozo, Ministry for Gozo ] [ Projects in Motion ] [ Sunrise Pet & Garden Centre] [ MycoMalta ]
Webpage is copyright of Stephen Mifsud / - (2002-2021)