by Stephen Mifsud
   3 Dec 2023      ()
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Echium italicum   (Pale Bugloss)

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

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Profile Date May-2006 (taxon update: May-2006)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Echium italicum - datasheet created on May-2006. Retrieved from on 03-Dec-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Echium italicumL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 139 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Echium pyrenaicum L.
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) :

Pale Bugloss, Italian Viper's Bugloss, Italian Bugloss

Maltese name(s) :

Ilsien il-fart abjad, Ilsien il-fart kbir

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 – May

Colour of Flowers:

White or Pink


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 )
italicum: 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: Rocky areas or dry grasslands
Preferred habitat in Malta: Garigue and rocky areas with enough deep soil, pathways in the countryside, disturbed areas near fields, fallow fields and field margins.
Botanical Description: Erect, hispid biennial 40-100 cm, usually with a single or a dominant flowering stem. Basal leaves 200-350 x 15-40 mm, lanceolate, with appressed, soft setae; cauline leaves more or less narrowly elliptical. Inflorescence spike-like or much-branched and pyramidal. Calyx 6-7 mm. Corolla 10-12 mm, very narrowly infundibuliform, yellowish-, pinkish- or bluish-white, with 4-5 long-exserted stamens; filaments pale.
Chromosome number: 2n=16, 32
Distributional range: S. & S.C. Europe

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, 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, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE Al Ar dAu(A) Bl(I M N) Bu Co Cr Ct Cy Eg Ga Gg Gr Hs(S) Hu -IJ It Li LS Mo Rf(C) Rm Sa Si(M S) Sk Sl Sr Tu(A E) Uk(K U) [He]

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 italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-0.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-1.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-2.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-3.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-4.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-5.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-6.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-7.
   Echium italicum   -   Image Code: ECHIT-8.

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