by Stephen Mifsud
   15 Jul 2024      ()
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Scrophularia auriculata   (Water Figwort)

Scrophularia auriculata  (SCROPHULARIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Detailed species profile
Scrophulariaceae Index Plant Family Index
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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: Dec-2007)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Scrophularia auriculata - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 15-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Scrophularia auriculataL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 620 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Scrophularia aquatica L.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Scrophulariaceae Juss. (The Figwort Family)
9 species from the Scrophulariaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Water Figwort, Water Betony, Bishop's Leaves

Maltese name(s) :

Fiswet il-kelb tal-ilma, Werqet il-Madonna

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) :

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

Flowering Time :

February – May

Colour of Flowers:

Red or Dark


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Scrophularia: Named in 1474 by an Italian physician who noticed the resemblance between the rhizomal knobs of some species and the tubercular condition of human lymph nodes called scrophula. Scrofula is a form of tuberculosis affecting the lymph nodes, especially of the neck, that is most common in children and is usually spread by unpasteurized milk from infected cows. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Riversides and other damp places.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Damp habitats and valleys close to arable land.
Botanical Description: Glabrous, rarely somewhat pubescent perennial; rhizome not nodular; stem 50-100 cm, 4-angled, the angles produced into wings c. 1 mm wide. Leaves 5-12(-25) cm, simple or with one (rarely more) pair of small lobes at the base, ovate to elliptical, crenate, the lower obtuse, the upper subacute, truncate to subcordate at base. Bracts mostly linear, not leaf-like; pedicels up to twice as long as calyx, glandular. Calyx-lobes ovate-orbicular, serrate, glabrous; margin broadly scarious. Corolla (5-)7-9 mm, greenish, with purplish-brown upper lip. Staminode more or less orbicular, scarcely emarginate. Capsule 4-6 mm, subglobose, obtuse, mucronate.
Chromosome number: 2n=78, 80, 84, 86
Distributional range: W. Europe, northwards to the Netherlands Italy and Sicilia Kriti.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Azores, Belgium, the Balaeric Islands, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? Ag Az(F L M S) Be Bl Br Co Cr Ga(F) Ge Hb(E) He Ho Hs(S) It Lu Ma Sa Si(M S) Tn [nCa(C)]

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 (28 images)
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-0.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-1.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-2.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-3.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-4.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-5.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-6.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-7.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-8.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-9.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-10.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-11.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-12.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-13.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-14.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-15.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-16.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-17.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-18.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-19.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-20.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-21.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-22.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-23.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-24.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-25.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-26.
   Scrophularia auriculata   -   Image Code: SCRAU-27.

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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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