Maltese Stocks – il-ġiżi ta’ Malta
The Maltese Stocks, know as il-ġiżi ta’ Malta is confined to cliffs and maritime valley-sides, but quite widespread along the southern to north-western cliffs of Gozo.
The Maltese stocks are perennial and its leaves are fleshy and wavy-edged. The whole plant is covered with fine hairs, giving a greyish to ashy-green appearance. The flowers appear between March and July and the flowers are pink to pale violet, very rarely whitish.
It is endemic to Gozo and Malta, but is much rarer in Malta. It was described for the first time in 1988 from Dwejra (Gozo) and it was legally protected since 1993. It is mostly threatened due to hybridisation with cultivated stocks, which are often planted in gardens, but manage to escape from cultivation and start growing wild, as along the bastions of Valletta and Floriana.
These cultivated stocks are also perennial and very similar to the Maltese stocks, but do not have fleshy leaves, and the flowers are usually deep violet, white or dappled white and violet flowers, although today many flowering varieties exist.
This plant has been declared a strictly protected plant under the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats protection regulations and one should not prune, fell or uproot this plant without previously obtaining the necessary permits from the relevant cmpetent authorities.