by Stephen Mifsud
   29 Jan 2023      ()
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Echium sabulicola   (Sand Viper's Bugloss)

Echium sabulicola  (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 sabulicola - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 29-Jan-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Echium sabulicolaPomel
Published in Nouv. Mat. Fl. Atl. 90 (1874)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Echium sabulicola var. gussonei Klotz
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) :

Sand Viper's Bugloss

Maltese name(s) :

Lsien il-fart tax-xatt

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:

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: Roadsides, fields and sandy areas near the sea.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Rocky coastal areas
Botanical Description: Procumbent, ascending or erect, hispid biennial or perennial 15-50 cm, with several to many flowering stems. Basal leaves ovate to obovate-cauline leaves oblanceolate to spathulate, attenuate and subpetiolate at base, with more or less dense, white, appressed or patent setae. Inflorescence more or less branched, laxly paniculate. Calyx 6-10 mm at anthesis, up to 16 mm in fruit, densely white-setose. Corolla 12-22 mm, infundibuliform, dark blue or pinkish- to bluish-purple, usually with 1-2 stamens exserted; filaments sometimes sparsely hairy.
Distributional range: W. Mediterranean region.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Corse, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? Ag Bl(I M N) Co Ga Gr Hs(S) It Li Ma Sa Si(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 (18 images)
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-0.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-1.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-2.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-3.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-4.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-5.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-6.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-7.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-8.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-9.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-10.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-11.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-12.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-13.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-14.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-15.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-16.
   Echium sabulicola   -   Image Code: ECHSB-17.

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