Ballota or Marrubium(!) ?

Requests about identification of wild plants in Malta and Gozo. (Please include precise details and pictures to help the experts in their ID process)

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Ballota or Marrubium(!) ?

Post by MWP admin » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:48 pm

I found a Ballota-looking plant but it was whitish because of the dense and long white hairs it had. I was hence wondering if it could be the very rare white horehound - Marrubium vulgare, instead the black horehound (Ballota nigra). The latter is described not to be that hairy, but I know that exceptions may occur.

I am comparing stem/leaves of a ballota nigra (left) and the specimen in question in the pic attached below
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Post by MWP admin » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:29 am

I read some floras about the 2 species this morning and seems that Ballota could be hairy too. It also seems that Marrubium usually do not have long petioles and the smell is pleasant-scented. Characters hence point to Ballota, but you can of course comment your thoughts too.

If I find time, I recheck the flowers in May because it looks a bit different from the usual Ballota nigra subsp. uncinata, perhaps it turns to be a different subsp. (at least!)
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Post by IL-PINE » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:53 pm

seems a hairy ballota :P

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Post by MWP admin » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:17 pm

I revisited the plants and they are again Ballota nigra subsp. uncinata so nothing special with this one! :(
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