Help on Identification

Post anything you like about the flora of the Maltese islands.

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Conchiolin
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Help on Identification

Post by Conchiolin » Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:55 am

I am learning more and more and MORE from this site about plants but now i have a great difficulty.

How do i recognize a Maltese Star Thistle from the common one (southern star thistle). What's the difference between the 2??? I looked at some pictures of their flowers and for me they're both identical. Could anyone point out some differences between the 2 becuase i come across a great deal of those thistles especially at this time of the year.......

I didn't include this topic in ID section since there's no plant to ID.

Grazzi bil-quddiem. Konkjolu- :-D
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Post by MWP admin » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:55 am

I have to retype again :-(

The differences between the non endemic Maltese Star Thistle (Centarea melitensis) and the common Southern Star Thistle (Centaurea nicaeensis) are very small, and it is difficult if you do not have the two to compare with.

The most different feature mentioned is that C. mlt has a smaller flower head from C.nica, but this is not good enough for me as it might be that you are seeing a small C.nica specimen

Another feature which differs is the phylarries of the flower (also known as involucral bracts) where in C.mlt it is said to be broader. Again we are speaking of 1mm (2mm max).

Combined together, that is a rather small flower with a relatively broad phyllaries, might be leading on the good track fro C.mlt and you should investigaet a bit more.

Take a look at the seeds, and C.mlt must have the achene part of the seed at the same length of the pappus part. If pappus is smaller, than C.nica.

Further more is another tiny detail about the leaves where C.nica do not have decurrent leaves, while C.mlt do have. Decurrent is when a leaf extends down the stem below the insertion (in the form of a scar usually)

I hope that's a good lecture Conchio...
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Conchiolin
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Post by Conchiolin » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:26 am

Hey now that is an excellent lecture! Thanks Mr.MWP :)

Didn't know that the differences were so minute but now everytime i come across one of those thistles i'll check it out and compare it with other thistles. Thanks a lot!

Had to google a few jargon actually but i learnt a lot by googling thanks again. This site is a mine of information about Maltese Flora! (and fauna)
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Post by MWP admin » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:38 am

On the site there is an online botanical glossary which i use a lot!
http://www.maltawildplants.com/Botanical_Terms.htm

but googling is fine too...
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Post by IL-PINE » Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:29 pm

heh, just remembered that I had some photos of Centaurea sp. still to identify and remembered this link.

Much more useful than any of my books....
Thanks mwp :-D

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Post by wolf » Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:23 pm

Conch - if its any consolation I still am unable to tell the difference - it is very difficult ...had same problem with common lellux actually

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