by Stephen Mifsud
   29 Jan 2023      ()
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Carthamus lanatus   (Woolly Carthamus)

Carthamus lanatus  (ASTERACEAE.) 
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). Carthamus lanatus - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 29-Jan-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Carthamus lanatusL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 830 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Carthamus lanatus var. algeriensis Batt.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

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

English name(s) :

Woolly Carthamus, Woolly Safflower, Smooth Distaff Thistle

Maltese name(s) :

Xewk ta' Kristu, Xewk il-far

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]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

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 :

May – July

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

lanatus: Woolly, bearing dense hairs looking like wool. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Steppe and exposed rocky areas
Preferred habitat in Malta: Steppe, abandoned fields, footpath margins
Botanical Description: Glandular annual, with more or less lanate-villous arachnoid indumentum. Leaves pinnatifid or pinnatisect, spinose-dentate. Capitula ovoid. Inner involucral bracts oblong-lanceolate, with small, often inconspicuous, ovate-lanceolate, scarious, dentate to subentire apical appendages. Corolla yellow, rarely whitish. Pappus of narrow, acute, ciliate scales.
Distributional range: S. Europe, extending locally northwards to central 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, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and former USSR, W K Doubtful in E Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A) -AE(G) AE(T) 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 He Hs(S) Hu -Ir It -Jo Li Lu Ma dMd(M P) Mk Mo Rf(CS S) Rm Sa Si(S) Sl Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U) [aBe aBr aCs aGe aHb(E) aLa No aPo Rf(C) nSk]

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 (9 images)
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-0.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-1.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-2.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-3.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-4.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-5.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-6.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-7.
   Carthamus lanatus   -   Image Code: CTHLN-8.

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