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Round leaved Fluellen

Kickxia spuria  (L.) Dumortier  (Fam: PLANTAGINACEAE.)

Published date of profile: Sep-2005.
Citation: Mifsud S., (Sep-2005) Kickxia spuria on MaltaWildPlants.com

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Nomenclature Morphology
Plant Description and Characters Plant Information and Uses
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Nomenclature

Species name :

Kickxia spuria  (L.) Dumortier

Name Derivation :

Carl von Linné, Sweden, 1707-1778 ;
Barthélemy Charles Joseph Dumortier, Belgium, 1797-1878

Synonyms :

Basionym or principal synonyms: Linaria spuria
Full list of synonyms: [ PlantList ]   [ IPNI ]   [ Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Plantaginaceae  Juss.
(Plantain Family)

Common name(s) :

Round leaved Fluellen, Round-leaved Cancerwort, Blunt-leaved Fluellen

Maltese name(s) :

Xetbet l-art safra

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Originating from the Maltese islands before man

Name Derivation:

Kickxia = Named for Jean Kickx, Sr., (1775-1831) professor of botany, pharmacy and mineralogy and/or his son Jean Kickx (Jr.) (1803-1864). (Latin);
spuria = False, doubtful "spurious" used for a species which is believed to have other names (Latin).

Remarks :

-


Morphology and structure

PLANT STRUCTURE:

Character

Growth Form

Branching

Surface

Description

Prostrate (Procumbent) :

Laying and trailing along the ground without rising up.

Basal Branching :

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

Villous :

Bearing long and soft hairs often shaggy.

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

Alternate :

Growing at different positions along the stem axis.

Stalked / Petiolate :

Hanging out by a slender leaf-stalk.

Pinnate venation :

Lateral veins which diverge from the midrib towards the leaf marhins.

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.

Leaf Texture

Due to the numerous villous hairs, the leaves are very soft when touched.

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

Yellow and deep purple

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

Unilateral Raceme :

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

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 lobes and is deep purple, while the lower lip is bright yellow and has 3 lobes. Inside there 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 or very faint

4mm x 4mm x 12 mm

(Length x Breadth x Depth including spur).

White

-


SEEDS:

Character

No. Per Fruit

Shape

Size

Colour

Description

16-20

Irregular cylindrical or chunky shape

(Seed coat possess several ridges).

1mm

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

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.

Beige

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:

Valleys, arable land, field margins and lanes.

Frequency:

Frequent

Localities in Malta:

Frequent plant, found at Chadwick Lakes (under one of the bridges), and nearby fields. Also found in fields and waysides in Gnejna and Dwejra (Malta).

Plant Height:

20-50cm.

Flowering Period:

Jun-Sep

Protection in Malta:

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

Red List 1989:

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Poison:

Not Poisonous.

This annual plant is seen in Malta at the beginning of Summer in arable fields and valleys. It is an decumbent, branching plant, with stems reaching about 40cm in length or more. Most of the plant is covered with soft hair. The stem have many rounded leaves stacked over each other, spaced from each other by a short distance and gradually decreasing in size up the stem.

The leaves are alternate (the lower ones nearly opposite), and at first sight they look to be sessile but on a closer examination they reveal to have a short petiole. Leaves are generally broad oval - nearly circular, while the cauline leaves tend to have a more lanceolate shape. Leaf outline is generally entire. The most striking characteristic of the leaves is the soft and smooth (silky) texture. This is due to their numerous, soft, fine, short hairs; described as pubescent. Leaves at the middle part of the stem are generally 48mm long and 38mm wide but size varies - lower leaves can reach up to 70mm in length.

In contrast to the leaves, flowers have a long slender stalklet which grows out from the leaf axils. Usually flowering branches grows out from the leaf axils of the main stem, and each flowering branch give rise to several flowers as a unilateral raceme. The flower is very small and have the typical bi-laterally symmetrical shape of the snapdragon/figwort family they belong to. The flower has 2 lips resting each other which form a tubular structure inside which are the reproductive organs. The tube ends to a narrow, curved-up, cream-coloured spur. The flower is supported from its centre by 5 green, oval sepals. The length of the flower (lips to spur) is about 12mm, while the lips are 4-5mm wide. The upper lip has 2 deep purple lobes while the lower lip has acontrasting bright yellow with 3 smaller lobes. The inner edges of the lower lip are also tainted with deep purple.

Inside, at the roof of the upper lip, there are the 4 small stamens which are so close to each other, that their anthers touch and looks to be as a single unit. Anthers are covered with white pollen. The tiny pistil has a superior ovary and a single style that is hidden between the stamens.

The fruit is a very small capsule (2-3mm) which is mostly covered by the calyx. Initially the capsule is green and when ripe it hardens and becomes light brown. The dehiscent capsule splits open and release it tiny (1mm) dark brown seeds. Each capsule hold a small number of seeds - not more than 20.


Information, uses and other details


Nativity and distribution

Kickxia possess about 46 species which are, native to West African islands, North Africa, Europe and Asia. Kickxia spuria and possibly Kickxia commutata have become naturalised in southern Africa. [WWW-109]

Soil type

Well-drained chalky soils. More frequently on calcareous clays than Sharp-leaved Fluellen, but less frequently on sands. [WWW-112]

Germination and Seed Dormancy

Seeds of Kickxia spuria, Polygonum persicaria and Sinapis arvensis buried in soil at depths of 1, 5, 10 and 20 cm, after 42 months the losses of undamaged seeds were estimated and found to be greater at 1 cm depth for K. spuria and S. arvensis but not for P. persicaria. Germination tests showed: (1) that germination was generally greater after burial than after dry storage; (2) that the germination capacity of S. arvensis increased with time whereas that of K. spuria decreased, as did that of P. persicaria, but more slowly; (c) that germination capacity increased with depth of burial and temp. and light requirements were reduced in buried seed; (d) that there were seasonal fluctuations in the germination capacity, samples taken in spring performing better than autumn ones; and (e) that only spring samples of P. persicaria germinated at low temp. and light was always required [WWW-113].

Sub species

There are 2 sub species of this plant which are:
    Kickxia spuria subsp. spuria
    Kickxia spuria subsp. integrifolia


According to reference [332] the subspecies found in Malta is the integrifolia


Not much information has been found about this particular plant species. If you can supply further info to be included in this profile, please do not hesitate to email us. Alternatively, input the new info you can supply at the form found at the botom of this page. Full reference credits will be given accordingly. Thank you for your support!

Photo Gallery   (33 Images)

IMAGE: KCXSP-01
Photo of flower which has 2 prominent lips resting on each other and a spur at the rear.
IMAGE: KCXSP-02
Close up of photo of flower showing that the upper lip has 2 deep purple lobes and the lower lip is bright yellow with 3 small lobes.
IMAGE: KCXSP-03
Photo of flower which its front face measures 4mm x 4mm and is about 12mm deep.
IMAGE: KCXSP-04
Photo of lower side of plant showing the cream coloured spur at the rear.
IMAGE: KCXSP-05
Another photo of the flower in situ.
IMAGE: KCXSP-06
Photo of the Lateral view of flower showing well its curved-up spur.
IMAGE: KCXSP-07
Another side-view photo of flower. Note that the flower is actually upside down - yellow lip is the lower one - but it is more artistic this way!
IMAGE: KCXSP-08
Photo of lower side of flower.
IMAGE: KCXSP-09
Scanned image of flower (side view). The calyx is made up of 5 sepals, overlapping slightly each other.
IMAGE: KCXSP-10
Scanned image of corolla (side view) with its sepals removed.
IMAGE: KCXSP-11
Scanned image of front face of flower.
IMAGE: KCXSP-12
Scanned image of flower with its lips forced open to show internal reproductive organs. Stamens produce white pollen.
IMAGE: KCXSP-13
Scanned image of a dissected flower (two lips seperated) showing the column of stamens at the roof of the upper lip.
IMAGE: KCXSP-14
Scanned and annotated image of a dissected flower.
IMAGE: KCXSP-15
Magnified scanned image of flower against a dark background.
IMAGE: KCXSP-16
Magnified scanned image of a dissected flower to show the stamens and its thick filaments and white anthers. Style and stigma are hidden between the stamens.
IMAGE: KCXSP-17
Photo of a flower, leaves and buds along the stem.
IMAGE: KCXSP-18
Scanned image of the main stem with several lateral flowering branches coming out from one side (unilateral branching).
IMAGE: KCXSP-19
Scanned image of upper part of plant showing long-stalked buds and a flower growing from leaf axils.
IMAGE: KCXSP-20
Photo of plant showing leaves and a long flowering branch.
IMAGE: KCXSP-21
Photo of flower growing from the axil of the obtuse ovate shaped leaf just below it.
IMAGE: KCXSP-22
Close up photo of cauline leaves and a bud at the left side of the photo.
IMAGE: KCXSP-23
Another photo of the leaves of the plant looking as if to be sessile, but actually they have a short petiole.
IMAGE: KCXSP-24
Scanned image of leaves showing the small petiole of the leaves and their pubescent hairs. Buds can be seen growing from the axils of the leaves with a long stalk. Also seen at the top is the shape of the sepals forming the calyx.
IMAGE: KCXSP-25
Photo of a small community of plants growing near each other and since of their quasi-prostrate stems (referred to as decumbent), they tend to form a carpet.
IMAGE: KCXSP-26
Photo of several branches of numerous plants running in all directions.
IMAGE: KCXSP-27
Photo of plant in a fallow field (July 2006). It forms numerous trailing stems with several soft leaves.
IMAGE: KCXSP-28
A full scan of a the stem with its large lower leaves, and unilateral branches further up.
IMAGE: KCXSP-29
Scanned image of the spherical fruit capsules, with the one on the right being the more ripe and soon to split open. The fruit is a dehiscent loculicidal capsule.
IMAGE: KCXSP-30
Scanned image of the tiny (=1mm), dark brown seeds.
IMAGE: KCXSP-31
Magnified image of seeds under the light microscope. Note the rough seed coat with a network of ridges.
IMAGE: KCXSP-32
Illustration of the plant in colour.
     
IMAGE: KCXSP-33
Black and White illustration of the plant by Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 175.
IMAGE: KCXSP-34
IMAGE: KCXSP-35
IMAGE: KCXSP-36

Links & Further info

Google Web

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Yahoo Web

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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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