2 Oct 2014           Google PR= 5
HOME  - Index of Plant FamiliesA to Z INDEX - Species list aided with query filter toolsNEWS - Lateset news from the author & web updatesCOMMUNICATE ( Emails, Comments, Donations, etc)
 


Maltese Toadflax

Linaria pseudolaxiflora  Lojacono  (Fam: PLANTAGINACEAE.)

Published date of profile: Mar-2006.
Citation: Mifsud S., (Mar-2006) Linaria pseudolaxiflora on MaltaWildPlants.com

Contents Links   (Detailed Profile)

 
Nomenclature Morphology
Plant Description and Characters Plant Information and Uses
Images External Links
Support and sales Submit information
Website FORUM Copyright notes
 
Plantaginaceae spp. Index Plant Family Index
 
This plant is brought to you by one of our sponsors:
More support is needed [ read more ]

Nomenclature

Species name:

Linaria pseudolaxiflora   Lojacono

Author(s):

Michele Lojacono, Italy, 1853-1919

Common names:

Maltese Toadflax

Maltese name:

Papoċċi ta' Malta, Xatbet l-Art Maltija

Plant Family:

Plantaginaceae   (Plantain Family)

Name Derivation:

Linaria = from the Latin "linum" which means flax, referring to the flax-like leaves of some species. (Latin);
pseudolaxiflora = "pseudo" = false; "laxiflora" = clusters of loose flowers (not densely borne). Hence the term means "falsely loose-flowers" as the plant may give the false impression that its flowers are borne in loose clusters. (Latin).

Synonyms:

None

Remarks:

Sub-endemic and protected. -


Morphology and structure

PLANT STRUCTURE:

Character

Growth Form

Branching

Surface

Description

Decumbent :

Most of stem lying along the ground but the tip/upper part is ascending up.

Basal Branching :

Branches are mostly present at the basal part of the stem.

Hirsute :

Covered with rough, coarse hairs.

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

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

Ovate :

Oval shape, being broadest at the lower third and having rounded ends, hence like the shape of an egg.

Entire :

Smooth margin without indentations, lobes or any projections.

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

White and pale indigo

The upper lip of the corolla and part of the spur are pale blue, the rest is white or cream.

Personate :

Flowers composed of 2 lips with the lower one having a rounded projection known as a palate.

2

Upper and lower lip-like petals resting on each other.

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

Raceme :

Simple, elongated, indeterminate cluster with stalked flowers.

The flower consists of a tube with 2 lip-like petals at one end and a closed narrow tube (called the spur) at the other. The upper lip has 2 elongated lobes and a pale violet-blue colour. The lower lip is white or cream with a bright yellow centre. It possesses 3 rounded lobes. Between the lips are the 4 stamens and pistil very close to each other.

Superior :

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

4, Didynamous :

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

None

18mm x 4mm x 5mm

(Length including spur x Breadth x Depth). Spur is 10mm long.

Yellow

-


SEEDS:

Character

No. Per Fruit

Shape

Size

Colour

Description

50-80

Reniform

More or less the shape of a kidney with a rugged texture.

> 1mm

Black

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

Indehiscent Poricidal Capsule :

A non-splitting fruit capsule which usually stores a large number of tiny seeds which escape through small pores or slits in the walls of the fruit.

Straw colour when ripe

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.

-

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:

Annual.

Growth Form:

THEROPHYTE (Annuals)

Habitat:

Rocky and stony arid places such as garigues, cliffs and walls.

Frequency:

Rare

Localities in Malta:

Recently observed at Wied Znuber. Reported to be found at Qrendi (Wied Hoxt), Delimara, Bingemma, Selmun amongst other localities. Also found on Gozo, Comino and Cominotto.

Plant Height:

Trailing stems can be between 5 and 20cm long.

Flowering Period:

Mar - May

Protection in Malta:

Protected by law (schedule III of legal notice LN311/2006) and cannot be picked or harmed

Red List 1989:

This species has a threatened status and is listed in the Flora section of the National Red Data Book (Lanfranco, 1989)

Poison:

Unlikely to be poisonous.

The annual plant forms few to numerous basal branches which while growing, they remain lying on the ground. The terminal part of the branched stems (=the flower bearing part) tends to rise up and off the ground by few centimetres. The length of the trailing stems varies between 5cm to 20cm, but usually it is around 10cm. The branched stems do not branch again along their length.

Each branch forms whorls of 3 identical leaflets. These become individual and alternate at the terminal part of the stem. Each leaflet is sessile, glabrous and have an entire outline. They are very small, measuring about 5-8 mm long, with the younger leaves being even smaller. Their shape is ovoid with a fairly sharp-angled tip.

Flowers are borne in loose racemes; sometimes only one apical flower, or else up to 5 flowers. The flowers are typical snapdragon-like in shape, which consists of two lips resting on each other and join to form a long closed tube (known as the spur) at the other end. The upper lip has 2 pale-violet erect lobes (about 5mm long); the lower lip have three much shorter white lobes. Most of remaining corolla is glabrous and white or have a hint of violet-blue. The palate has fine hairs and decorated by a central, bright yellow patch, more precisely where the two lips touch. The corolla measures 15-18mm of which the spur is between 9-12mm. The spur is slightly curved up. The flower possesses 5, tiny (2-4mm long), free, narrow sepals of unequal length with the middle one being the longest.

The 4 didynamous stamens are included in the corolla tube and lie inside, between the lips. They are arranged in 2 pairs, running parallel to each other and one pair being shorter from the other by 1mm. The anthers are yellow. The style is, white, very thin and somewhere hidden between the stamens.

The fruit is a green spherical structure measuring about 5mm in diameter and found embraced by the 5 sepals. It often shows 6 to 8 dark-green radial stripes. The corolla and anthers drop but the curved style persists during fruiting. When ripe, the fruit splits open longitudinally and releases the tiny seeds stored inside. These are black, kidney-shaped structures with a wrinkled seed-coat and less than 1mm in length. Seeds are formed around May-June and germinate the following October-November.


Information, uses and other details


Distribution and Protection

This plant is a sub-endemic species, which means it is confined to two or few sites coming from different neighbouring countries or islands. The Maltese Toadflax is mostly found on the Maltese islands, but it is also present in Linosa, one of the Pelagian islands in the Mediterranean. {WWW-137, WWW-160, WWW-161] The islands of Lampedusa and Linosa, together with the desert rock called Lampione, forms the Pelagian archipelago. They are some 200 km south of Sicily and are geographically speaking part of Africa.

Apart from the Maltese islands and Linosa, this plant is not found anywhere else in the world. For this reason and since of the fact that it is a scarce plant, one should never destroy, cut or harm this species. As a matter of fact, this species is protected by Maltese Protection act (LN257 / 2003). Furthermore, the species is listed in Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Conservation of Bern)

Personal Observations


General notes
The annual plant was found growing in a sunny position on shallow soil over a rocky ground with many stones. Probably this is the preferred habitat of the plant. It was found growing with other prostrate Trifolium spp. plants or very small Euphorbias. Carpeting plants like Oxalis pes-caprae, or high shrubs were not present. These would disadvantage severely the sub endemic plant due to competition for sun and soil nutrients. The plant propagate only by seeds. The fruit forms not more than 80-100 seeds in a small fruit capsule that when ripe it opens and drops the seeds to the ground. No special seed dispersion mechanism. For this reason plants are found in rather dense patches rather than distributed over a large area. The destruction of a patch of plant such as for agriculture, bird hunting, poisoning, etc would probably mean the destruction of the species in that particular site.

Photo Gallery   (34 Images)

IMAGE: LNRPS-01
Photo of several, low-growing plants with their numerous vertically aligned flowers.
IMAGE: LNRPS-02
Photo of several flowers coming from numerous plants growing in a small but dense patch.
IMAGE: LNRPS-03
Photo of some flowers of this species. They are borne as racemes of few flowers (up to 5) or just one terminal flower. Note the free narrow sepals embracing the flowers.
IMAGE: LNRPS-04
Photo of the snapdragon-like flowers borne as racemes. This photo also shows the green, spherical fruits.
IMAGE: LNRPS-05
Close up photo of the flower (lower front side). The corolla is made of 3 colours, white (most of the corolla tube), pale violet (mainly the upper lip) and yellow (central part of mouth).
IMAGE: LNRPS-06
Close up photo of flower showing well the 2 lips and the long spur.
IMAGE: LNRPS-07
Photo of flower (lateral view). The length of the corolla is about 15-18mm, the spur is about 10-12mm, the violet lobes of the upper lip are about 6mm long.
IMAGE: LNRPS-08
Photo of flower (front view) showing the 3 rounded lobes of the white lower lip and the central yellow patch at the mouth of the flower.
IMAGE: LNRPS-09
Close up photo of flower showing the beautiful combination of pastel colours.
IMAGE: LNRPS-10
Close up photo of the flower with the mouth forced open to show its detail. The yellow patch has a brush of fine hairs. Also note the 2 knob-like structures on the lower lip.
IMAGE: LNRPS-11
Another photo showing the front side of the flower.
IMAGE: LNRPS-12
Side view photo of the flower.
IMAGE: LNRPS-13
Photo of 2 flowers (side view).
IMAGE: LNRPS-14
Photo of 3 flowers (front view).
IMAGE: LNRPS-15
Photo of flower showing its long whitish spur that is slightly curved up.
IMAGE: LNRPS-16
Photo of flower, fruit and leaves.
IMAGE: LNRPS-17
Photo of a typical flower, a bud (left side) and a fruit capsule (right side).
IMAGE: LNRPS-18
Scanned image of stem. As shown it contains leaflets arranged in sets of three, and flowers at the uppermost end.
IMAGE: LNRPS-19
Scanned image of flower showing the snapdragon-like corolla and 3 of the 5 narrow sepals.
IMAGE: LNRPS-20
Scanned image of corolla showing the main features of the lip. The upper lip has 2 erect, elongated, pale violet lobes, while the lower lip is white and has 3 small rounded lobes. The mouth is further decorated by a yellow patch.
IMAGE: LNRPS-21
Another scanned image of the corolla. This image shows the brush-like hairs on the lower lip.
IMAGE: LNRPS-22
Scanned image of the upper lip (top view) and 3 of the 5 sepals. The sepals are of unequal length with the central one being the longest (about 4mm).
IMAGE: LNRPS-23
Scanned and annotated image of the main flower parts of this species.
IMAGE: LNRPS-24
Scanned image of the mouth (forced open) of the flower. The 4 stamens are found between the lips with their anthers lying exactly on the yellow zone.
IMAGE: LNRPS-25
Scanned image of the upper lip with the lower one removed to show the arrangement of the stamens. They arranged in 2 pairs with one pair being slightly shorter from the other. The anthers of the corresponding pair is often found touching each other. This arrangement is referred to as didynamous.
IMAGE: LNRPS-26
Scanned image of the leaves. They are arranged in whorls of 3 per node (sometimes referred to as verticillate). Leaf length about 4-8mm with younger ones even shorter.
IMAGE: LNRPS-27
Photo of sessile leaves in situ.
IMAGE: LNRPS-28
Photo of the tiny leaves along the trailing branches of the plants.
IMAGE: LNRPS-29
Close up photo of the leaves. They are glabrous and quite fleshy.
IMAGE: LNRPS-30
Another photo of the leaves in situ. They have an oval shape with an acute-angled tip.
IMAGE: LNRPS-31
Photo of plant in its arid, rocky habitat. The plant form basal branches which each trails on the ground for a length of 5-20cm. The apical part of the branch tends to rise up by few centimetres when the flowers are formed. Usually, the branched stems do not branch again.
IMAGE: LNRPS-32
Photo of one of the numerous basal branches of the plant along a ruler to show its dimensions.
   
IMAGE: LNRPS-33
Photo of the sub-spherical fruit capsule, measuring about 5mm in diameter. Note the darker stripes along the capsule.
IMAGE: LNRPS-34
Photo of an immature fruit capsule embraced by the 5 sepals. The curved style persists on the fruit.
IMAGE: LNRPS-35
IMAGE: LNRPS-36

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


Buy Seeds and Docs
Seeds of wild plants for sale for studies, trials, research, or personal use. Note that not all species' seeds can be exported (depending on Maltese regulations and CITES). Availability depends on season. For these reasons you are kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

  Online Purchase (Seeds)
Buy images found in this large collection of Maltese flora. Prices reasonable and rated differently according size and resolution. Please note that all images are copyright of the author. Buying images for your projects will support this website. To buy images please take not of the image code specific for every image (found beneath each individual photo) since this is required when filling the online ordering form.   Online Purchase (Images)
Kindly consider support this website by giving a small donation. This will help to cover some expenses needed to maintain the website and its further development. Please bear in mind how much hard work such a large and up-to-date website about the flora of Malta requires.   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). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, silly 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:   20 + 1 =     This website is about
          




MaltaWildPlants.com is supported by:
[ MGI Business solutions ] [ Atlas insurance ] [ Projects in Motion ] [ Piscopo Gardens ] [ Zammit Garden Centre] [ AIS Environmental ]
All data on this webpage is copyright of Stephen Mifsud / www.MaltaWildPlants.com - (2002-2013)