by Stephen Mifsud
   15 Jul 2024      ()
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Ophrys melitensis   (Maltese Spider Orchid)

Ophrys melitensis  (ORCHIDACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

Page Contents + Links

General Information Species Images
External Links Support and sales
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Sponsors & Adverts Copyright notes
Detailed species profile
Orchidaceae Index Plant Family Index
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Profile Date Mar-2006 (taxon update: Mar-2006)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Ophrys melitensis - datasheet created on Mar-2006. Retrieved from on 15-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Ophrys melitensis(Salkowski) Devillers-Tersch. & Devillers
Published in Naturalistes Belges 75(7, Suppl.): 380 (1994)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Ophrys sphegodes subsp. melitensis Salkowski
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Orchidaceae Juss. (The Orchid Family)
41 species from the Orchidaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Maltese Spider Orchid

Maltese name(s) :

Brimba s-sewda, Brimba ta' Malta

Status for Malta :

Endemic. Occurs only on the Maltese 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 :

Protected by law: Regulation 26 of [S.L. 549.44] (Strictly protected endemic species)

Red List (1989) :

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

Flowering Time :

March – May

Colour of Flowers:

Brown or Dark


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Ophrys: Eyebrow, referring to the brown, furry edges found in the flowering lips of several. (Latin origin )
melitensis: "Originating from or related to the Maltese Islands. ( )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Species endemic to the Maltese Islands, not found in the rest of Europe
Preferred habitat in Malta: Garigue and steppes somewhat preffering sites close to the coast.
Botanical Description: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  

Links & Further literature (5 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




Assessment of Ophrys melitensis for IUCN Redlist Stephen Mifsud  (2018)
Ophrys melitensis - Origin and systematics Stephen Mifsud  (2018)
Recent observations on Ophrys species and hybrids of the Maltese Archipelago Stephen Mifsud & Leslie Lewis  (2011)
Recent observations on the Ophrys of Malta and Gozo: an Addendum Stephen Mifsud & leslie Lewis  (2013)
Ophrys ×gaulosana (Orchidaceae) - a new hybrid from Gozo (Maltese Islands) Stephen Mifsud  (2019)
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 (48 images)
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-0.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-1.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-2.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-3.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-4.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-5.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-6.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-7.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-8.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-9.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-10.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-11.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-12.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-13.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-14.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-15.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-16.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-17.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-18.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-19.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-20.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-21.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-22.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-23.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-24.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-25.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-26.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-27.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-28.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-29.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-30.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-31.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-32.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-33.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-34.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-35.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-36.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-37.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-38.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-39.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-40.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-41.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-42.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-43.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-44.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-45.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-46.
   Ophrys melitensis   -   Image Code: OPHMT-47.

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)

Buy images found in this large online collection of Maltese flora photographed by the author (Stephen Mifsud). Prices reasonable and rated differently according size and resolution. Buying images for your projects will support this website. When placing an order please take note of the image code specific for every image in the corresponding species webpage (found beneath each individual photo) since this is required when filling the online ordering form. Images are normally sold as a license with the copyright reserved to the author, but sales of copyright of exceptional images can be considered.   Online Purchase (Images)
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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.
Plant Species:  *
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
Own observations: Info from published material (books, journals, website):
Reference of published material:
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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