by Stephen Mifsud
   15 Jul 2024      ()
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Tetraclinis articulata   (Sandarac Gum Tree)

Tetraclinis articulata  (CUPRESSACEAE.) 
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). Tetraclinis articulata - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 15-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Tetraclinis articulataMast.
Published in Jour. Roy. Hort. Soc. 14: 250 (1892)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Thuja articulata Vahl
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Cupressaceae Barlett (The Cypress Family)
5 species from the Cupressaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Sandarac Gum Tree, Mediterranean Alerce, Arar Tree

Maltese name(s) :

Siġra tal-Għargħar, Għargħar

Status for Malta :


Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule I of [S.L. 549.123] AND schedule III and VI [S.L. 549.44] (Strictly protected tree species)

Red List (1989) :

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

Flowering Time :

All year

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

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

Remarks :

This is the national tree of Malta. Was believed to be common on the Maltese islands long time ago, but now restricted in few sites and quite rare. Recentely it has been cultivated and used in agriculture and afforestation projects.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Wooded cliffs near the sea
Preferred habitat in Malta: Maquis, now confined to edges of escarpments but also cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks.
Botanical Description: Monoecious, pyramidal tree, 12-15 m high. Buds concealed by the leaves. Twigs flattened. Leaves in groups of 4, the lateral ones larger than the others, all adnate to the twig except at the scale-like apex. Cone solitary, valvate, woody, 8-12 mm in diameter; scales 4, glaucous, triangular, 2 obtuse and 2 acute at the apex, deeply grooved, with a small spine near the apex Seeds with 2 wide wings.
Distributional range: S.E. Spain (near Cartagena), Malta and N.W. Africa

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? Ag Hs(S) Li Ma Si(M) Tn [Ca(C) nCy]

Links & Further literature (1 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




A complex genetic structure of Tetraclinis articulata (Cupressaceae) in the western Mediterranean Juan Luis García-Castaño, Francisco Balao, María Teresa Lorenzo, Errol Véla, Seghir Hadjadj-Aoul, Stephen Mifsud, And Anass Terrab  (2018)
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 (25 images)
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-0.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-1.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-2.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-3.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-4.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-5.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-6.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-7.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-8.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-9.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-10.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-11.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-12.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-13.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-14.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-15.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-16.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-17.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-18.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-19.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-20.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-21.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-22.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-23.
   Tetraclinis articulata   -   Image Code: TCLAR-24.

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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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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