by Stephen Mifsud
   2 Dec 2023      ()
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Alisma lanceolatum   (Spear-leaved Water Plantain)

Alisma lanceolatum  (ALISMATACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Alisma lanceolatum - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 02-Dec-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Alisma lanceolatumWith.
Published in Arr. Brit. Pl. ed. 3, 2: 362 (1796)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Alisma stenophyllum (Asch. & Graebn.) Sam.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Alismataceae Vent. (The Water-plantain Family)
3 species from the Alismataceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Spear-leaved Water Plantain

Maltese name(s) :

Biżbula tal-Ilma tal-werqa dejqa

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]: HYDROPHYTE ( living only or mostly in water )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – May

Colour of Flowers:

Pink or Violet


Mildy toxic, can cause adverse conditions if consumed in large quantities

Name Derivation :

Alisma: "Classical Greek name for a water plant (the water plantain) used by Dioscorides (40 - 90 AD), and adopted by Carolus Linnaeus. ( )
lanceolatum: Having the shape of a lance; broadest at the lowest third and tapering gradually to a narrow apex. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Closely related to the commoner Alsima plantago-aquatica to which it can be confused with. Very similar to Alisma plantgo-aquatica but with narrower, lance-shaped leaves.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Flooded wetlands, mostly in shallow lakes, river banks and valleys.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Wetland areas and valleys with slow flowing or shallowly-flooded nitrogen-rich water
Botanical Description: Leaves up to 27 × 7·5 cm but usually much smaller, aerial, lanceolate to elliptical, cuneate at the base, more or less rounded but ultimately acuminate at the apex. Petals 4·5-6·5 mm, purplish-pink. Anthers elliptical. Styles equalling or longer than the ovaries, filiform, more or less erect, stigmatose in the upper 1/2-2/3 of their length. Fruitlets 2-3 mm; lateral pericarp thin, translucent.
Chromosome number: 2n=26
Distributional range: Most of Europe but rare in the north

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
All Europe except Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Russia and former USSR, Svalbard archipelago
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A) AE(G) Ag Al Au(A L) Az(J S T) Be(B L) Bl(I M N) Br Bu By Ca(C) Co Cr dCs Ct Cy Da ?Es -Fe Ga(F) Ge Gr Hb(E N) He Ho Hs Hu It La Li Lt Lu Ma Md(M) Mo Rf(C E N NW S) ?Rf(K) Rm Sa Si(M S) Sk Sl Su Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U)

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (5 images)
   Alisma lanceolatum   -   Image Code: ALSLN-0.
   Alisma lanceolatum   -   Image Code: ALSLN-1.
   Alisma lanceolatum   -   Image Code: ALSLN-2.
   Alisma lanceolatum   -   Image Code: ALSLN-3.
   Alisma lanceolatum   -   Image Code: ALSLN-4.

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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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