by Stephen Mifsud
   31 Jan 2023      ()
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Anchusa italica   (Italian Bugloss)

Anchusa italica  (BORAGINACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Detailed species profile
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Profile Date May-2004 (taxon update: May-2004)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Anchusa italica - datasheet created on May-2004. Retrieved from on 31-Jan-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Anchusa italicaRetzi.

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Anchusa azurea Mill.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Boraginaceae Juss. (The Borage Family)
16 species from the Boraginaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Italian Bugloss, Large Blue alkanet, Garden Anchusa

Maltese name(s) :

Lsien il-Fart ikħal

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]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
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 :

April – June

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Anchusa: Comes from the Greek word referring to a delicate paint used on the face (similar use to nowadays' make-up) alluding to a particular red dye extracted from the roots of this plant. Such a name was already used by Aristofanes and Xenofon, (400 BC) for the name this plant. (Greek origin )
italica: originating from or related to Italy, for example described first from Italy. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: In or close to cultivated areas or abandoned fields
Preferred habitat in Malta: Sides and perimeter tracks of arable fields, roadsides and sideways on stony hills, especially if beside cultivated fields.
Botanical Description: Perennial, hispid with dense, patent, rigid or soft, often tubercle-based hairs; stems 20-150 cm, erect. Leaves (50-)100-300 x (10-)15-50 mm. Cymes many; pedicels 1-3 mm, up to 10(-15) mm in fruit; bracts shorter than calyx. Calyx 6-8 (-10) mm, up to 18 mm in fruit, divided almost to the base into linear, acute lobes. Corolla violet or deep blue; tube 6-10 mm, slightly exceeding or shorter than calyx; limb (8-)10-15 mm in diameter; stamens inserted at top of tube, overlapping scales. Nutlets (6-)7-10 x 2-3 mm, oblong or oblong-obovoid, erect.
Distributional range: S. & S.C. Europe naturalized further north.

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, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Austria and Liechtenstein, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? AE Ag Al Ar Bl Bu Ca(C F G H L P T) Co Cr Ct Cy Ga Gg Gr Hs(S) Hu IJ It Li LS Lu Ma Md(M) Mo Rm Sa Si(M S) dSk Sl Sn Sr Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K) [Au(A) Cs Ge He aPo]

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 (30 images)
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-0.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-1.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-2.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-3.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-4.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-5.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-6.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-7.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-8.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-9.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-10.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-11.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-12.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-13.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-14.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-15.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-16.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-17.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-18.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-19.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-20.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-21.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-22.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-23.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-24.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-25.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-26.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-27.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-28.
   Anchusa italica   -   Image Code: ANHIT-29.

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