by Stephen Mifsud
   22 Jun 2024      ()
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Apium nodiflorum   (Fool's Water Cress)

Apium nodiflorum  (APIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Apium nodiflorum - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 22-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Apium nodiflorum(L.) Lag.
Published in Amen. Nat. 1: 101 (1821)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Helosciadium nodiflorum (L.) W. D. J. Koch
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Apiaceae Lindl. (=Umbelliferea) (The Carrot Family)
34 species from the Apiaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Fool's Water Cress, Procumbent Marshwort

Maltese name(s) :

Karfus tal-ilma, Xaħmet il-Ġwieri

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]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule III of [S.L. 549.44] (Conservation requires the designation of SAC)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – May

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Apium: A name for a group of celery-like (Umbilliferous) plants used by Pliny for which according to some originates from the Celtic word apon meaning water, which is the preferred habitat of these plants. Same applies for the family name Apiaceae. (J )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Wet places, typically river banks, lakes and valleys
Preferred habitat in Malta: Wetland areas mostly in water courses along valleys
Botanical Description: Procumbent or ascending perennial up to 100 cm. Stems hollow, rooting at the lower nodes. Leaves 1-pinnate, segments 10-60 mm, 7-13, lanceolate to ovate, serrate and often somewhat lobed. Peduncle usually shorter than rays, often almost absent; umbels leaf-opposed. Rays 3-12. Bracts usually absent, rarely 1 or 2; bracteoles 5-7, ovate or lanceolate, with a white, membranous margin. Fruit 1.5-2 mm, longer than wide, ovoid.
Chromosome number: 2n=22
Distributional range: Much of Europe, particularly in the west

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Azores, Belgium, the Balaeric Islands, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Bulgaria, Corse, Doubtful in Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Doubtful in Greece, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Doubtful in ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Doubtful in Romania, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Doubtful in Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Al Az(J L M S T) Be(B L) BH Bl(I M N) Br Bu dCa(C G P T) Cg Co Cr Ct Cy Eg Es Ga(F) Ge Gr Hb(E N) He Ho Hs(S) Ir It Jo Le Li Lu Ma Md(M) Mk Rm Sa Si(M S) Sn Sr Sy Tn Tu(A E) [aFe aNo aSu]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

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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 (10 images)
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-0.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-1.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-2.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-3.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-4.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-5.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-6.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-7.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-8.
   Apium nodiflorum   -   Image Code: APUNF-9.

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