by Stephen Mifsud
   15 Sep 2019      ()
External Links:

Silybum marianum   (Milk Thistle)

Silybum marianum   (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

Page Contents + Links

Nomenclature and Basic Information Images
External Links Support and sales
Submit information Website FORUM
Sponsors & Adverts Copyright notes
Asteraceae Index Plant Family Index
This profile is brought to you by one of the website's sponsors.
[read more...]
Profile Date Oct-2010 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Oct-2010) Silybum marianum retrieved from on 2019-Sep-15

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertner
Published in Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 378 (1791)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Silybum eburneum
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl (=Compositae) (The Daisy or Sunflower Family)
125 species from the Asteraceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Milk Thistle, Blessed Milk Thistle

Maltese name(s) :

Xewk tal-Madonna, Ħaxixa tal-Kanali

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:


Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Roadsides, waste places and cultivated ground.

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Data will be available in the next update of this website.

Botanical Description:

Stem 20-150 cm, rarely shorter, glabrous or slightly arachnoid-pubescent, green. Basal leaves 25-50 x 12-25 cm, pinnatifid, glabrous or glabrescent, petiolate; cauline leaves smaller, less deeply divided, auriculate-amplexicaul, sessile, with yellowish-white spines up to 8 mm. Capitula 2.5-4 cm; peduncles long, erect, ebracteate or with few, small, leaf-like bracts; outer and middle involucral bracts with appendages 8-15 x 6-10 mm, gradually tapered into recurved, canaliculate spines 20-50 mm. Achenes 6-8 x 2.5-4 mm, shiny, black, with grey spots; pappus 15-20 mm.

Chromosome number:


Distributional range:

Mediterranean region and S. W. Europe cultivated for ornament and naturalized or casual throughout a large part of Europe

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):

Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):

Albania, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Belgium, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Czeck Republic and Slovakia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia and former USSR

Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(Euro+Med Checklist, 2017) - Country codes

Ab(A) AE(G) Ag Al Ar BH Bl(I M N) Bu dCa(C F G L P T) Cg Co Cr Ct Cy Eg Ga(F) Gg Gr Hs(G S) Ir It Jo Le Li Lu Ma dMd(D M P) Mk Rf(CS) Sa Si(M S) Sn Sy Tn Tu(A E) [Au(A) aAu(L) nAz(F G S T) nBe aBe(B) nBr By nCa(H) aCs Da aEs Ga(C) aGe nHb(E N) He aHo aLa Lt Mo No cPo Rf(C E NW S) Rm cSk Sl aSr Su Uk(K U)]

Images (13 images)
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-0.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-1.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-2.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-3.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-4.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-5.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-6.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-7.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-8.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-9.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-10.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-11.
   Silybum marianum   -   Image Code: SLBMA-12.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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:   30 + 9 =     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 / - (2002-2018)