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The Maltese toadflax

Photo: Stephen Mifsud/MaltaWildplants.com

Photo: Stephen Mifsud/MaltaWildplants.com

The Maltese toadflax known as Il-papoċċi ta’ Malta (Linaria pseudolaxiflora) is a very rare plant which lives in exposed pockets of stony soil on rocky ground close to the sea, paving and fortifications, as at Iċ-Ċittadella.

It is a minute plant with a prostrate habit and slender stems. Its leaves are small, generally three at each attachment point to the stem, at least in the lower part of the stem. Flowers usually in groups of two or three, sometimes only one, of composite structure and colouration, with the upper lip and the flower projection (spur) bluish to whitish tinged in violet-blue, and a whitish lower lip with yellow lineations, appear between March and May.

The Maltese toadflax was first described in 1904 and is endemic to the Maltese islands and the island of Linosa (located southwest off Malta).

It is legally protected, therefore one should not pick, collect, cut, uproot, destroy or damage this unique plant in any way.

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