Found what looks to be a Smilax aspera

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

Moderators: AlanOuten, MWP admin, IL-PINE

Post Reply
User avatar
MWP admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:23 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

Found what looks to be a Smilax aspera

Post by MWP admin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:34 am

Today I was roaming around near the Verdala palace (Siggiewi side) and about 200-300m away I got lost into some nice steppe facing Girgenti/Buskett.

I came across a strange 'weird like' climber which was not yet in flower, but its leaves were quite interesting per se.

They have a rather larrge triangular shape with a cordate (heart-like) base. Glabrous. Margins with sparse tiny spines. Stem have tendrils and long pointed spines.

From my research I came to the conclusion that it is Smilax aspera I got surprised to discover that it is a member of the Lily family since of its dicot type of leaves - alternate along the stem.

I am quite eager to see it in flowers to confirm. I wonder if anyone of you have encountered this plant. The Bible says its frequent but I never seen it before.

It is the only smilax spp found in Malta.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by MWP admin on Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}

greenhorn
Veteran member
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 11:50 am
Location: Köln, Germany

Smilax aspera

Post by greenhorn » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:03 pm

Could it be, that my English is too bad, when I understood, that this is the only smilax in Malta? In Gozo I found two ssp, one like that on Your photo and another one with white-spotted leaves.
The last one I saw only in Wied ir-Rhien and the other nearly everywhere.

HC Weber
Botanical Expert
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:58 pm
Location: Germany

yes, it is

Post by HC Weber » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:15 pm

Yes it is Smilax aspera (Salsa Pajżana), and I would say: frequent to locally common. Your photos show this climber on shrubs of Pistacia lentiscus. A very nice population is at Rdum Rxawn. Park your car at Mistra Bay, go to the mouth of Mistra Valley (where Kalkara Ravine ends in the sea) and climb up the hill on your right. You will find the plants within a nice maquis.

HC Weber
Botanical Expert
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:58 pm
Location: Germany

Post by HC Weber » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:19 pm

hi greenhorn- just at the same time-
There is only 1 species, but the leaves may vary: white spotted or even without spines, heart shaped or almost linear...

User avatar
IL-PINE
Premium Member
Posts: 1112
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: Qormi
Contact:

Smilax

Post by IL-PINE » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:19 pm

Yes, it is definitely Smilax.

It is quite a frequent plant, I have seen it in almost every valley I have visited. I think I even saw it at Wied Encita. Usually you notice it when it comes in contact with the skin, just like Rubus!

User avatar
MWP admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:23 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

Thanks

Post by MWP admin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:26 pm

Thanks guys for all this info.

Just one more question: Do you know when it flowers in Malta so that i put it in my agenda to make a profile for the website. I seen it from the internet and it makes nice clusters (umbels) of white flowers.
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}

User avatar
IL-PINE
Premium Member
Posts: 1112
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: Qormi
Contact:

Post by IL-PINE » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:40 pm

Well it flowers in autumn! Haslam mentions it as flowering from September till November. I saw it in flower in Wied Babu last month. If you are fortunate enough you might find it still flowering in a couple of places!

User avatar
MWP admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:23 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

My Haslam does not say anything!

Post by MWP admin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:39 pm

Does that "Fl.9-11" refers to the flowering period ??

So I am quite late!!!

TNX pine!

Keith, if we go to wied Babu with the course group next Sunday keep an eye on this plant!
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}

User avatar
IL-PINE
Premium Member
Posts: 1112
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: Qormi
Contact:

Fl

Post by IL-PINE » Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:17 pm

Yes, Fl. is the flowering time, and the numbers are the months.

wolf
Veteran member
Posts: 449
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 8:31 pm
Location: Malta

Post by wolf » Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:54 pm

Hello ! are you people quite sure it is smilax aspera ...as far as I know leaves look like pic below...ie more heart shaped - as pine said this is rather common and yes present at Incita too

MWP - you may or may not be to late to find this in flower - my pic is taken 23oct at Birguma but I find that flowers come out earlier or later depending on area - how sheltered it is and all that

for instance I have seen borage and honeywort in flower at incita but nowhere else much

wolf

ps ...i will try to post a curious pic later - watch this space :twisted:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
MWP admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:23 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

Post by MWP admin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:44 pm

I will go and search next Thursday at Mistra as Weber indicated since there is easy to go by car. I will also give a look at wied Incita. The one I photographed did not show any flowers or fruit so I am also optimistic that it will soon flower, unless it might not flower at all!!

PS:
Weber and Wolf - when are we going to see you avatars pics :-)
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}

User avatar
MWP admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:23 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

Plenty found at mistra

Post by MWP admin » Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:14 pm

I suffer from curiosity and impatience. After work I went to Mistra as Weber described. At first I jad some difficulty to spot any plant because I was looking for it at the maquis atop the hill, just beside the fire brigade complex. Then I saw it further down the hill near the beginning of that stairs which go down to the beach

There were plenty of them further down at this area, and some are really interesting, either covering a whole shrub like a parasite, or as numerous loose spiny branches hanging down from high trees.

There where no flowers though, and I tried several perilous paths maybe there is still some hidden plant in blossom, but no luck. When I gave up and was getting cold, i decided to follow the steps and there I met 3-4 plants with some flowers. 2 or 3 where female an only one male. Hope tomorrow will be good for photos.

The variation in leaves is fantastic both in terms of size, shape, colour, leaf margin and patches. Also I found that recentely Smilax has been removed from the Liliacea family and placed on an own Family - the Smilicaceae.


Expect a profile within 7 days !
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}

User avatar
MWP admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3142
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:23 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

For those confused on leaves

Post by MWP admin » Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:24 pm

Here is a variation of several leaves of Smilax aspera. Variation in:

- leaf breadth
- leaf cordate base
- margin spines
- pale patches
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}

User avatar
IL-PINE
Premium Member
Posts: 1112
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: Qormi
Contact:

aw king

Post by IL-PINE » Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:34 pm

Wow. That is an impressive variation in leaves! Good picture. I may also congratulate you for the Clematis cirrhosa proife.

HC Weber
Botanical Expert
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:58 pm
Location: Germany

Post by HC Weber » Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:48 pm

Bravo! What a morphological row- fantastic!

Post Reply