by Stephen Mifsud
   3 Mar 2024      ()
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Zannichellia major   (Greater Horned Pondweed)

Zannichellia major  (POTAMOGETONACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Sep-2010 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Zannichellia major - datasheet created on Sep-2010. Retrieved from on 03-Mar-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Zannichellia majorBoenn. ex Rchb.
Published in Revis. Gen. Pl. 1: 264. 1891.

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Zannichellia palustris subsp. major (Hartm.) Ooststr. & Reichg.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Potamogetonaceae Dumort. (The Pondweed Family)
2 species from the Potamogetonaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Greater Horned Pondweed

Maltese name(s) :

Ħarira tal-widien

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HYDROPHYTE ( living only or mostly in water )
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 :

January – April

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Zannichellia: A Genus named after Giovanni Gerolamo Zannichelli (1662-1729), a Venetian botanist, naturalist, physician and pharmacist. Further info : [1] [2]. (Latin origin )
major: Bigger, larger, greater, superior. This term was often given to plants which are larger or 'more important' compared to other species in the same genus. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Population destroyed when Wied tal-Qlejgha was renovated in 2020. Species was likely a native station since it was located in a natural habitat that is usually found. Some viable seeds may perhaps still exist in the sediment and bale to regenerate the popualtion. Zannichellia major was first found in Malta by Stephen Mifsud in 2008 from a valley. It's origin on the islands still have to be determined. Old floras mentioning Zannichellia palustris ( closely related to Z. major) refer to the rock-pool plants which later was described as Z. melitensis (a Maltese endemic). The fact that this taxon is not specifically listed in old floras (since these records refer to Z. melitensis) and that its native range is more North, indicates that the Z. major is of alien origin. On the other hand, a monograph of Zannichellia was published few decades ago, and hence recent taxonomic studies might indicate that the distibution of Z. major is more widespead to the South, since population previously identified in the past as Z. palustris s.l. may some of them turn out to be Z. major.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Valley beds with streaming water
Botanical Description: Data will be available in the next update of this website.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Da Fe Ge †Ho No Po Rf(K NW) Rm Si(S) Su Tu(E)

Links & Further literature (2 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




Zannichellia Major Boenn. Ex Rchb. A first record of a non-endemic species of Zannichellia L. (Fam. Zannichelliaceae Dum.) from the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud  (2009)
Assessment of Zannichellia melitensis for IUCN Redlist Richard Lansdown  (2018)
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 (14 images)
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-0.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-1.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-2.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-3.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-4.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-5.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-6.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-7.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-8.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-9.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-10.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-11.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-12.
   Zannichellia major   -   Image Code: ZNCMJ-13.

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