by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Phlomis fruticosa   (Great Sage)

Phlomis fruticosa  (LAMIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2006 (taxon update: Oct-2006)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Phlomis fruticosa - datasheet created on Oct-2006. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Phlomis fruticosaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 584 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

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

Plant Family :

Lamiaceae Lindl. (=Labiatae) (The Mint Family)
36 species from the Lamiaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Great Sage, Jerusalem Sage

Maltese name(s) :

Salvja tal-Madonna

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]: Nano-Phanerophyte ( small trees to large shrubs, usually <5 m )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)

Flowering Time :

April – June

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Phlomis: From the Greek word for mullein, perhaps due to the similarity of leaves. (Greek origin )
fruticosa: Having a shrubby or bushy appearance. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Encouraged to be planted in the wild that is in rural areas including ODZ.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Valley sides, rocky areas, garigue rich in soil.
Botanical Description: Shrub up to 130 cm. Stem eglandular. Lower leaves 3-9 cm, elliptical, lanceolate or lanceolate-ovate, truncate or cuneate at base, entire or crenulate, coriaceous, shortly stellate-tomentose above, white-stellate-tomentose beneath; petiole up to 4 cm. Floral leaves sessile or petiolate, mostly lanceolate, obtuse. Verticillasters (6-)14- to 36-flowered. Bracteoles 10-20 x (2-)3-7 mm, obovate, ovate-lanceolate, oblanceolate or elliptical, acuminate, straight at apex, stellate-tomentose, ciliate or not, with hairs 2-3 mm. Calyx 10-19 mm, stellate-lanate, not ciliate; teeth 1-3.5(-4) mm, subulate. Corolla 23-35 mm, yellow. Nutlets glabrous or pubescent.
Chromosome number: 2n=20
Distributional range: Mediterranean region, westwards to Sardegna.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Crete, Greece, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Introduced in  the Azores, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Russia and former USSR
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Al Cr Cy Gr It Ju Sa Si Tcs Tu(A) [Az Uk(K)]

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 (7 images)
   Phlomis fruticosa   -   Image Code: PHLFR-0.
   Phlomis fruticosa   -   Image Code: PHLFR-1.
   Phlomis fruticosa   -   Image Code: PHLFR-2.
   Phlomis fruticosa   -   Image Code: PHLFR-3.
   Phlomis fruticosa   -   Image Code: PHLFR-4.
   Phlomis fruticosa   -   Image Code: PHLFR-5.
   Phlomis fruticosa   -   Image Code: PHLFR-6.

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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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