by Stephen Mifsud
   15 Jul 2024      ()
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Romulea variicolor   (Maltese Sand Crocus)

Romulea variicolor  (IRIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Jan-2007 (taxon update: Jan-2007)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Romulea variicolor - datasheet created on Jan-2007. Retrieved from on 15-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Romulea variicolorMifsud
Published in Webbia 70(2): 257 (2015)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

No Main Synonyms

Plant Family :

Iridaceae Juss. (The Iris Family)
23 species from the Iridaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Maltese Sand Crocus

Maltese name(s) :

Żagħfran tal-blat ta' Malta

Status for Malta :

Subendemic. Found in Malta and neighbouring territories such as in Sicily, Lampedusa, Pantelleria, and other islands.

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 :

February – April

Colour of Flowers:

Violet or Lilac


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Romulea: A Genus named for Romulus, a legendary leader of the Romans and founder of Rome. (Roman origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Described in 2015 for plants previously referred to as Romulea ramiflora. Three varieties have been ascribed, var. mirandae having the lower surface of the tepals completely green; var. martynii having them completely violet and var. variicolor with intermixed violet and green colours, amongst other minor differences. Romulea ramiflora differs primarily in having slightly smaller and less variable flowers with a distinct yellow throat, leaves erect and longer flowering stalks. R. variicolor is amongst the most variable Meidterranean Romulea speices, although all individuals have a white or whitish throat and probably had evolved from the closely Sicilian-endemic R. linaresii.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Exposed rocky ground, footpaths, unvegitated or low garigue temporarily flooded rock pools.
Botanical Description: Data will be available in the next update of this website.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Sicily and/or Malta

Links & Further literature (4 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 review of Romulea Maratti (Iridaceae) in the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud  (2015)
Rediscovery and taxonomic analysis of Romulea melitensis (Iridaceae) from the Maltese islands Stephen Mifsud  (2021)
Assessment of Romulea variicolor for IUCN Redlist Stephen Mifsud  (2018)
Synopsis of Romulea (Fam. Iridaceae) on the Maltese Islands (Poster presentation for XV Optima Meeting) Stephen Mifsud  (2016)
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 (31 images)
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-0.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-1.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-2.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-3.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-4.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-5.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-6.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-7.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-8.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-9.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-10.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-11.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-12.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-13.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-14.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-15.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-16.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-17.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-18.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-19.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-20.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-21.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-22.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-23.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-24.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-25.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-26.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-27.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-28.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-29.
   Romulea variicolor   -   Image Code: RMLVC-30.

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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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