by Stephen Mifsud
   5 Jun 2023      ()
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Silene fruticosa   (Woody Catchfly)

Silene fruticosa  (CARYOPHYLLACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Silene fruticosa - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 05-Jun-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Silene fruticosaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 417 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

No Main Synonyms

Plant Family :

Caryophyllaceae Juss. (The Pink or Carnation Family)
39 species from the Caryophyllaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Woody Catchfly, Shrubby Campion

Maltese name(s) :

Lsien l-Għasfur tal-blat

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]: CHAMEOPHYTE ( dwarf or small woody shrubs )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule VI of [S.L. 549.44] (strictly protected species)

Red List (1989) :

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)

Flowering Time :

April – June

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Silene: "probably from the Greek ""sialon"" (=saliva) referring to the viscous excretion of several species. Another derivation could come from the name Silenus, the intoxicated foster-father of Bacchus (god of wine) who was covered with foam, much like the glandular secretions of many species of this genus". (Greek origin )
fruticosa: Having a shrubby or bushy appearance. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Encouraged to be planted in the wild that is in rural areas including ODZ.

Remarks :

A very rare plant found in few sites along the Western coast of Gozo.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Botanical Description: Robust perennial up to 50 cm, almost completely glabrous. Lower leaves obovate or narrowly spathulate, the upper lanceolate; all glabrous and shining above, ciliate. Inflorescence dense; flowers large, erect, on short peduncles. Calyx c. 25 mm, with patent glandular hairs; teeth acute. Petals pink or red, shallowly bifid; coronal scales obvious, acute, sometimes laciniate. Capsule c. 15 mm, ovoid, beaked, equalling or longer than carpophore. Seeds 1.5-2 mm.
Chromosome number: 2n=24
Distributional range: Mediterranean region (Sicilia to Karpathos) very local

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Crete, Greece, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? AE Cr Cy Eg Gr ?It Li Si(M S)

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 (15 images)
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-0.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-1.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-2.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-3.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-4.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-5.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-6.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-7.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-8.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-9.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-10.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-11.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-12.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-13.
   Silene fruticosa   -   Image Code: SILFR-14.

Buy Seeds and Docs
Sales of seeds of wild plants for academic studies, research or personal use. Note that not all species seeds can be exported - depending on Maltese regulations and CITES, and availability depends on season. You are hence kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges. Currently local orders are not taken.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
Own observations: Info from published material (books, journals, website):
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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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