by Stephen Mifsud
   22 Jun 2024      ()
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Nothoscordum × borbonicum   (Fragrant False Garlic)

Nothoscordum × borbonicum  (AMARYLLIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date July-2006 (taxon update: July-2006)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Nothoscordum borbonicum - datasheet created on July-2006. Retrieved from on 22-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Nothoscordum × borbonicumKunth
Published in Ill. Dict. Gard. 3: 457 (1885)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Nothoscordum inodorum sensu P.Fourn.
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) :

Fragrant False Garlic, Sweet Garlic, Onion weed

Maltese name(s) :

Tewm tal-qsari, Tewm tal-fwieħa

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]: 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) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – November

Colour of Flowers:



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

Name Derivation :

Nothoscordum: From the Greek 'nothos' = false and 'scordum' = garlic, hence meaning false garlic because although many morphological parts are alike garlic, they lack the pungent flavour or odour of garlic. (Greek origin )
borbonicum: Of or from the island Reunion in the Indian Ocean which formerly was called Bourbon. Further info: [1] [2]. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

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

Remarks :

A complex of species including N. inodorum, N. fragrans and N. gracile (N.castilloi) which are closely related or as treated by many authors, lumped as the same plant. The Maltese populations are not properly investigated but for the moment they can likewise be referred to N. borbonicum s. l. . Some populations are scented and others are much less so. They tend to become invasive in open damp places to a point to be difficult to eradicate.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Naturalized locally in cultivated ground
Preferred habitat in Malta: Naturalised from garden escapes in humid fertile areas such as valley sides and abandoned agricultural areas.
Botanical Description: Bulb c. 1.5 cm in diameter, ovoid; outer tunics membranous. Leaves 20-40 cm x 4-10 mm. Scape 30-60 cm, terete. Spathe shorter than umbel, persistent. Umbel up to 4 cm in diameter, fastigiate, with 10-15 fragrant flowers, lax; pedicels 2-6 cm, unequal. Perianth 10-15 mm, infundibuliform, white above, with pink mid-vein, greenish beneath; segments c. 4 mm wide, oblanceolate, obtuse. Stamens included; filaments 7-10 mm, simple; anthers dark brown. Capsule c. 6.5 mm, obovoid.
Chromosome number: 2n=18
Distributional range: S.W. Europe

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in  the Azores, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), H Portugal, Sicily and/or Malta, Warm temperate South America
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Al Ca Co Cr Cy Eg Ga Gr Hs IJ It Ju LS Lu Md Sa Si Sn Tu(A E) [Ag Az Ca Ma Md]

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 (6 images)
   Nothoscordum × borbonicum   -   Image Code: NTHBO-0.
   Nothoscordum × borbonicum   -   Image Code: NTHBO-1.
   Nothoscordum × borbonicum   -   Image Code: NTHBO-2.
   Nothoscordum × borbonicum   -   Image Code: NTHBO-3.
   Nothoscordum × borbonicum   -   Image Code: NTHBO-4.
   Nothoscordum × borbonicum   -   Image Code: NTHBO-5.

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