by Stephen Mifsud
   4 Dec 2023      ()
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Romulea ramiflora   (Sand Crocus (branched))

Romulea ramiflora  (IRIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Jan-2007 (taxon update: Aug-2021)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Romulea ramiflora - datasheet created on Jan-2007. Retrieved from on 04-Dec-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Romulea ramifloraTen.
Published in App. Ind. Sem. Horti Neap. 1827: 3 (1827)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Ixia ramiflora Ten.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Iridaceae Juss. (The Iris Family)
23 species from the Iridaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Sand Crocus (branched)

Maltese name(s) :

Żagħfran tal-blat skars

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]: GEOPHYTE ( bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc. )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

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 – March

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Romulea: A Genus named for Romulus, a legendary leader of the Romans and founder of Rome. (Roman origin ); 2 = Further Info: [1] [2].
ramiflora: Several sources refers to flowers borne on older stems, but it is more likely to mean a branched inflorescence. (Latin origin ); 2 = Romulea ramiflora does not produce flowers on old stems because these die after fruiting.

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Old records of R. ramiflora refer to the variable and common species of R. variicolor, but few populations of sand crocus match with R. ramiflora and hence its occurrence in the Maltese islands is not excluded, but its occurrence is very rare in sheltered or damp habitats. In Malta there are 5 taxa of Romulea recorded including one which is alleged to be an endemic. The Romulea species recorded in Malta are :
Romulea melitensis (endemic),
Romulea rollii,
Romulea bulbocodium,
Romulea ramiflora and
Romulea columnae

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Steppe, low garigue, clearings and footpaths in rocky areas and exposed rocky ground near the coast.
Botanical Description: Basal leaves 2, 6-30 cm x 0.75-1.5 mm, erect or recurved. Cauline leaves up to 4(-6), one on lower part of scape, the others more or less terminal. Scape usually below ground at anthesis, later up to 30 cm, 1- to 4(-6)flowered. Pedicels elongating after flowering to up to 10 cm.Flowers lilac-blue, sometimes with darker veins, sometimes pinkish inside, yellow-green outside; throat white or yellow. Bract 1-2.2 cm, herbaceous, strongly veined. Bracteole with a hyaline margin. Perianth 1-3 cm, the tube 2.5-7 mm; segments oblanceolate or oblanceolate-elliptical, acute. Anthers reaching about 2/3 of the way up the segments. Stigmas just below or just above the top of the anthers. Capsule 1.2-1.6 cm, cylindrical to oblong.
Chromosome number: 2n=36
Distributional range: Mediterranean region, Portugal.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Bl Co Cr Cy Ga Gr Hs It Li Lu Ma Sa Si Tn Tu(A E)

Links & Further literature (4 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




A review of Romulea Maratti (Iridaceae) in the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud  (2015)
Rediscovery and taxonomic analysis of Romulea melitensis (Iridaceae) from the Maltese islands Stephen Mifsud  (2021)
Assessment of Romulea variicolor for IUCN Redlist Stephen Mifsud  (2018)
Synopsis of Romulea (Fam. Iridaceae) on the Maltese Islands (Poster presentation for XV Optima Meeting) Stephen Mifsud  (2016)
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 (13 images)
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-0.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-1.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-2.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-3.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-4.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-5.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-6.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-7.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-8.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-9.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-10.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-11.
   Romulea ramiflora   -   Image Code: RMLRF-12.

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