by Stephen Mifsud
   25 Jul 2024      ()
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Cardiospermum grandiflorum   (Showy Balloon Vine)

Cardiospermum grandiflorum  (SAPINDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: Sep-2022)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Cardiospermum grandiflorum - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 25-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Cardiospermum grandiflorumSw.
Published in Sp. Pl. 366 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Cardiospermum hirsutum Willd.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Sapindaceae Juss. (The Soapberry Family)
4 species from the Sapindaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Showy Balloon Vine, Upland Cotton

Maltese name(s) :

Sfineġ, Tursien ir-riħ

Status for Malta :

Invasive Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta any time after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World), and spreads rapidly to form large invasive populations to the detriment of native flora or ecosystems.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
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 :

June – October

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Botanical Description: Annual, somewhat woody at the base, sparsely hairy throughout, climbing by means of branched, axillary tendrils. Stem up to 2 m but often much less, strongly ridged. Leaves more or less deltate in outline, ternate; leaflets deeply ternatisect, with a large, rhombic-lanceolate, irregularly incise-dentate terminal lobe and 2 small lateral lobes. Flowers in small, long-pedunculate, axillary cymes, often with tendrils intermixed with the flowers. Sepals 1.5 mm, ovate-orbicular. Petals 4 mm, white. Capsule up to 3 x 3 cm, trigonous or subglobose, papery; seeds 5 mm in diameter, black with a conspicuous, white, heart-shaped hilum.
Distributional range: Cultivated as a curiosity in S. Europe and locally naturalized.
Native region outside Europe: ( Widespread in the warmer regions of both hemispheres.)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in  Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), ex-Jugoslavia
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Eg [nAE(G) Al aBe(B) nCr Cy Eg aGe nGr Hs(S) cIJ cIr cJo Ju cLe cLS Rm nSi(S) cSn cSy]

Links & Further literature (1 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




Contribution to the alien flora of the Maltese Islands: New records, observations on invasive species and taxonomic updates Stephen Mifsud  (2017)
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 (6 images)
   Cardiospermum grandiflorum   -   Image Code: CSPGF-0.
   Cardiospermum grandiflorum   -   Image Code: CSPGF-1.
   Cardiospermum grandiflorum   -   Image Code: CSPGF-2.
   Cardiospermum grandiflorum   -   Image Code: CSPGF-3.
   Cardiospermum grandiflorum   -   Image Code: CSPGF-4.
   Cardiospermum grandiflorum   -   Image Code: CSPGF-5.

Buy Seeds and Docs
Sales of seeds of wild plants for academic studies, research or personal use. Note that not all species seeds can be exported - depending on Maltese regulations and CITES, and availability depends on season. You are hence kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges. Currently local orders are not taken.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
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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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