by Stephen Mifsud
   12 Jun 2024      ()
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Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   (White Round-headed Garlic)

Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense  (AMARYLLIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Jan-2008 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense - datasheet created on Jan-2008. Retrieved from on 12-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense(Guss.) Arcang.
Published in Comp. Fl. Ital. 702 (1882)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Alium arvense Guss.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Amaryllidaceae Jaume St.-Hil (The Daffodil or Amaryllis Family)
28 species from the Amaryllidaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

White Round-headed Garlic

Maltese name(s) :

Tewm ta' Għawdex

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]: GEOPHYTE ( bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc. )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

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 :

May – July

Colour of Flowers:



Mildy toxic, can cause adverse conditions if consumed in large quantities

Name Derivation :

Allium: The classical Latin name for garlic. (Latin origin )
sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense:

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Locally frequent at the coastal cliffs in Gozo, very rare in mainland malta. Possibly introduced by Gozitan farmers as a trial crop. A very rare Allium species found only on the cliffs of South West to West of Gozo.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Rupestral dry and open habitats.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Coastal cliffs mostly in the island of Gozo
Botanical Description: Bulbs 1-2 cm in diameter, ovoid; outer tunics membranous or coriaceous, sometimes breaking into parallel fibres; bulblets white or yellowish, acuminate, stalked and enclosed within sheath on lower part of the stem. Stem 5-90 cm. Leaves 2-6, up to 30 cm x 1-4 mm, fistular, semicylindrical, canaliculate, sheathing the lower ¼-½ of the stem. Spathe up to 2 cm, usually 2-valved, shortly beaked, persistent, shorter than the umbel. Umbel 1-6 cm in diameter, usually less than 3 cm, subglobose to very broadly ovoid, sometimes with bulbils; pedicels 2-30 mm, unequal. Perianth cylindrical to narrowly ovoid; segments 3.5-5.5 x 1.2-2.5 mm, white with green or yellowish keel, the outer mostly narrowly ovate or lanceolate, keeled, the inner slightly narrower, obtuse to almost truncate or subacute, papillose or smooth on keel and surface. Stamens exserted; outer 3 filaments 4-7 mm, simple or rarely tricuspidate, the inner 3 with the basal lamina 1-2 times as long as the central cusp, the lateral cusps shorter to longer than the 1.5-3 mm central cusp; anthers reddish before dehiscence. Capsule c. 4 mm
Distributional range: C. to E. Mediterranean region

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Bulgaria, Crete, Greece, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Al Eg Gr LS Ma Si Tn Tu(A)

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 (9 images)
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-0.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-1.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-2.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-3.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-4.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-5.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-6.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-7.
   Allium sphaerocephalon subsp. arvense   -   Image Code: ALLAV-8.

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