by Stephen Mifsud
   7 Aug 2020      ()
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Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum   (Bitter Fennel)

Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum  (APIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2010 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Oct-2010) Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum retrieved from on 2020-Aug-07

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum(Ucria) Coutinho
Published in Fl. Port. 450 (1913)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Foeniculum piperitum (Ucria) Sweet
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Apiaceae Lindl. (=Umbelliferea) (The Carrot Family)
34 species from the Apiaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Bitter Fennel

Maltese name(s) :

Bużbież salvaġġ

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common     Frequent     Scarce     Rare     Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE (prostate plants with flowers close to the ground)
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection [link]:

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

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :


Colour of Flowers:


Remarks :

This Mediterranean subspecies is often synonymised with the common fennel - Foeniculum vulgare subsp. vulgare; but it is quite distinct from it and some authors (e.g. in France) defend its separation. It differs from the common fennel by being a smaller plant, with more robust and shorter leaves each having distinct robust and short leaflets upto 10mm long (looking like the leaves of Asparagus officinalis). The umbels have less rays, up to twelve, but usually around six compared to 15-40 in subsp. vulgare. The lateral umbels often overtop the main central one. The seeds are more bitter than the common fennel, hence the vernicular name - Bitter fennel.

Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Dry rocky places, steppe

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Steppe, derelict agricultural areas and wasteground near arable land

Botanical Description:

Glabrous, glaucous perennial up to 100 cm. Stem striate, shiny, developing a small hollow when old. Leaves more or less triangular in outline; lobes usually 5-10 mm, rigid, sometimes glossy, filiform, acuminate, cartilaginous at apex, usually widely spaced and not all lying in one plane; petioles of upper leaves usually 3-6 cm. Terminal umbel often overtopped by lateral ones. Rays 4-10. Bracts and bracteoles usually 0. Fruit 4-10.5 mm, ovoid-oblong; lateral ridges scarcely more prominent than dorsal. Seeds bitter-tasting

Distributional range:

Mediterranean region

Images (5 images)
   Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum   -   Image Code: FOEVP-0.
   Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum   -   Image Code: FOEVP-1.
   Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum   -   Image Code: FOEVP-2.
   Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum   -   Image Code: FOEVP-3.
   Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum   -   Image Code: FOEVP-4.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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