by Stephen Mifsud
   3 Mar 2024      ()
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Echium arenarium   (Coastal Viper's Bugloss)

Echium arenarium  (BORAGINACEAE.) 
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). Echium arenarium - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 03-Mar-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Echium arenariumGuss.
Published in Ind. Sem. Horto Boccad. 5 (1826)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Echium diffusum Guss.
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) :

Coastal Viper's Bugloss

Maltese name(s) :

Lsien il-fart tar-ramel, Lsien il-fart tax-xtut

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 :

February – June

Colour of Flowers:

Blue or Violet


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Echium: From the Greek 'Echis' meaning a viper and most probably referring to the flower shape which appear to represent a vipers head. Another source states that the name alludes to the fact that roots of these plants drunk with wine was regarded both as good to act against snakebites and also as a continuing protection for future snake bites. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Dunes and sandy fields near the sea, sometimes also found on exposed rocky ground near maritime coasts.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Arid exposed ground near the shore, prefering sandy areas
Botanical Description: Hispid biennial 10-25 cm, with several to many ascending flowering stems. Leaves with whitish, short appressed setae; the basal 30-60 x 5-14 mm, spathulate, long-petiolate; the cauline spathulate, elliptical or oblong, the uppermost sessile. Calyx 5-7 mm at anthesis, up to 10 mm in fruit, with the lobes remaining narrow. Corolla 6-11 mm, dark blue, with all the stamens included.
Distributional range: Mediterranean region

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Crete, Greece, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Doubtful in Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Introduced in  France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? AE Ag Bl(I M N) Cr Cy Ga Gr Hs(S) It Li dLu Ma dSa Si(M S) Tn

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)
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-0.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-1.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-2.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-3.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-4.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-5.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-6.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-7.
   Echium arenarium   -   Image Code: ECHAR-8.

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