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Silvery Mallow-Leaved BindWeed

Convolvulus elegantissimus  Miller  (Fam: CONVOLVULACEAE.)

Published date of profile: May-2004.
Citation: Mifsud S., (May-2004) Convolvulus elegantissimus on MaltaWildPlants.com

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Nomenclature Morphology
Plant Description and Characters Plant Information and Uses
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Nomenclature

Species name :

Convolvulus elegantissimus  Miller

Name Derivation :

John Sibthorp, United Kingdom, 1758-1796 ;
James Edward Smith, United Kingdom, 1759-1828 ;
Clive Anthony Stace, United Kingdom, 1938-

Synonyms :

Basionym or principal synonyms: Convolvulus althaeoides subsp. tenuissimus
Full list of synonyms: [ PlantList ]   [ IPNI ]   [ Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Convolvulaceae  Juss.
(BindWeed Family)

Common name(s) :

Silvery Mallow-Leaved BindWeed, Mallow-leaved Bindweed

Maltese name(s) :

Leblieba tax-xagħri car, Leblieba roża

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Originating from the Maltese islands

Name Derivation:

Convolvulus = from the Latin "convolvere", meaning to twine around, referring to its stem`s twining habit. (Latin);
elegantissimus = Elegant, pretty - referring to the beautiful flower or the whole plant in general. (Latin)

Remarks :

-


Morphology and structure

PLANT STRUCTURE:

Character

Growth Form

Branching

Surface

Description

Coiled :

Twisted stem, winding.

Moderately Branched :

Considerable number of secondary branches along the main stem.

Pubescent :

Covered with soft short hairs often pointing downwards.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

LEAVES:

Character

Arrangement

Attachment

Venation

Description

:

Stalked / Petiolate :

Hanging out by a slender leaf-stalk.

None :

No prominent venation visible.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Leaf Shape

Leaf Margin

Remarks

Description

Sagittate :

Arrow shape.

Crenate :

Shallow, smooth and rounded teeth.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

FLOWERS:

Character

Colour

Basic Flower Type

No. of Petals

No. of Sepals

Description

Pink

(With a white center).

Trumpet Shape :

Petals fused together to form a flower having the shape of a trumpet, hence starting as a narrow tube but widens into a flared mouth where the petals often turn slightly back.

5

(Fused together).

5

General
Picture

  Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Inflorescence

Description

Ovary

Stamens

Description

Unilateral Raceme :

Like a raceme (with stalked flowers along stem), but flowers project from only one side of the stem.

Flower consists of 5 small overlapping sepals and a large flower with its 5 petals entirely fused together to form a trumpet shaped corolla. It has a pink colour with a white centre from which the 5 stamens and central pistil with 2-parted stigma comes out.

Superior :

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

#, Antipetalous :

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

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Scent

Average Flower Size

Pollen Colour

Other Notes

Description

YES

Possess a noticeable sweet vanilla-like scent.

45-55mm

White

-


SEEDS:

Character

No. Per Fruit

Shape

Size

Colour

Description

1-4

(Maximum 4 per fruit).

Oval

Shape of a lemon.

4-5mm

Dark Brown

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

FRUIT AND OTHER BOTANICAL DATA:

Character

Fruit Type

Colour of Fruit

Subterranean Parts

Other Notes

Description

Dehiscent Loculicidal Capsule :

A fruit capsule that splits open longitudinally into the cavity of the locule when the seeds are ripe.

Green

Turns reddish brown when ripe.

Rhizome :

A prostrate or underground plant stem, forming shoots above and roots below.They serve as a reproductive structure and sometimes have thickened areas that store starch.

-

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

Plant description and characters

Life Cycle:

Perennial.

Growth Form:

HEMICRYPTOPHYTE (Creeping plants)

Habitat:

Dry soil or/and rocky ground, stony waysides, and dry waste ground especially besides fields.

Frequency:

Common

Localities in Malta:

Frequent in several places around the Maltese Islands such as at Dingli, Rabat, Siggiewi, Mellieha, Mistra, Wied il-Ghasel, Wied Babu etc.

Plant Height:

Without support it remains trailing to the ground at a low height of about 15cm, but with support provided, its stem can extend upwards up to 1m.

Flowering Period:

Apr-Jul

Protection in Malta:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List 1989:

Not listed in the Flora section of the National Red Data Book (Lanfranco, 1989)

Poison:

Not Poisonous.

This perennial plant, produce prostrate stems with the ability to intertwine and coil so as to climb along with other upright objects, namely neighbouring plants. The stem is very thin and is silvery due to the presence of very fine, shiny, white hairs. It produces leaves and flowers at one side of the stem, the other side being the part resting on the ground.

The leaves are quite attractive in being symmetrically lobed and silvery-looking especially in sunlight. The leaf shape is generally heart-shaped in outline but it is so much lobed that this shape is somehow lost. The deepness of lobes vary. The older and basal leaves are unlobed or have shallow lobes and so the heart-shape structure can be observed. The leaves along the stem then gets gradually more lobed and the uppermost leaves consists of deep, very slender leaf lobes, looking like a few thin finger-like projections. The leaves lack stipules and have slender stalks of various lengths.

The flowers have long pedicels, longer than the leaves, probably to surpass and stand out from the leaves. They contain 5 small ovate sepals which persists during the fruit stage. The pink/lilac flowers are trumpet shaped (petals are fused), zygomorphic with 5 planes of symmetry. they are about 50mm in diameter. The flower have a characteristic white centre from which the 5 stamens and central pistil comes out. Each stamen consists of a white filament and an indigo anther. The pistil consists of a very small inferior ovary, a white style and a stigma, that is split into 2 parts.

The fruit is a spherical dehiscent capsule with a pointed tip. The capsule is about 8mm in diameter and green which turns reddish brown when getting ripe. It will split open and drop the 4 brown seeds (about 4mm in size) without any means of dispersion.


Information, uses and other details


Nomenclature and identification

There are at least two sub species of Convolvulus althaeoides, that are C. althaeoides subsp althaeoides and C. althaeoides subsp tenuissimus. The former is also referred to as Convolvulus althaeoides and the latter is referred to as Convolvulus elegantissimus. One important feature to distinguish the two (sub-)species is the centre part of the plant where the C. althaeoides has a darker centre (deep violet) from the rest of the corolla while C. elegantissimus have a whiter center. [300]

Nativity

This plant is native to the Mediterranean region including north Africa. [WWW-26]

Why it is difficult to extirpate the plant

Like many Convolvulus species, this plant is very difficult to get rid off and this is thanks to Its roots. Its roots run very deeply into the ground and extend over a large area. Furthermore the long roots are brittle and readily snap, and any part left in the ground will soon grow and send up shoots to the surface in a very short time. [WWW-03]

Personal Observations


Common habitants
While photographing these wild plants, many flowers had very small (perhaps less from 1 mm) bright-red insects which looked like mites. They are seen mostly at the very center of the flower and start running along the corolla when the flower is disturbed. Probably they can pass throgh the nectar holes of the flower to feed on the sugary nectar liquid. Click here for a photo of these insects on the flower [SM]
Perennial characteristic of the plant
Although this plant is seen for a couple of months during Spring / early Summer it is still described as a perennial, hence living all year round. This is due to the fact that the plant have living, underground, root-like rhizomes which remains 'dormant' during Autumn and Winter and shoots up when the climate rises to optimal temperature in Spring [SM]
Not much information about this plant has been found, neither in books nor on the internet. If you can supply further information to be included in this profile, please, do not hesitate to email me. Full reference credits will be given.

Photo Gallery   ( Images)


Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images

Wikipedia

JSTOR

GBIF

Med Checklist

Cat. of Life

EoL

IPNI

The Plant List

NYBG

Vienna Virt. Hb.

RBGE

KEW

MNHN

Arkive


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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.

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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!
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