Malta Flora and Fauna

By | December 26, 2021

Flora and vegetation. – In the marine flora of the vicinity of the island the following algae can be remembered: Porphyra laciniata, Codium tomentosum, Padina pavonia (very common), Ulva latissima, Haliseris polypodioides, Sargassum bacciferum probably of Atlantic origin. The Zostera marina is abundant in the muddy coves near the coast. With regard to the terrestrial flora the island from the end of June to the middle of September appears all barren and parched due to the great drought: only here and there does the dark green of the carob trees stand out (Ceratonia siliqua), the glaucous green of prickly pears, the foliage of figs and pomegranates. The flora in this season is represented by Urginea scilla, whose large bulbs are medicinal, Kentrophyllum lanatum, Carlina, Centaurea nicaeensis, Capparis rupestris, Orsinia camphorata, Asperula longiflora ; in the humid valleys live some mints, Epilobium, Veronica anagallis, Arundo Pliniana, various species of Carex ; Cineraria maritima, Inula crithmoides, Crithmum maritimum grow on the sea cliffsand various Statice, while in the salty maritime places a halophilic vegetation develops with Atriplex, Salsola, Suaeda, Erytraea spicata, and on the sandy beaches we find Psamma arenaria, Pancratium maritimum, Euphorbia paralias and terracina, etc. The rains of September quickly produce greening of the island for the development of many annual plants of the Graminaceous, Compost, Cruciferous, Leguminosae, Urticaceae families, etc. and with the production of leaf rosettes in perennials: mosses and lichens are also revived which in the summer are crumpled and darkened. These plants are the most important autumn: Crocus longiflorus, Colchicum Bertoloni, Spiranthes autumnalis, Ranunculus bullatus, Silene sericea, Bellis annual, Brassica campestris, calendula arvensis and during winter spring: Adonis microcarpus, Asphodelus microcarpus, Anemone coronaria by beautiful flowers various color, oxalis cernua, Orchis lactea, OR. saccata, Ophrys fusca e bombyliflora, some Romulea, Iris sisyrinchium, some Gladiolus, Mesembryanthemum cristallinum, several species of Labiate and Umbrelliferae, Cynomorium coccineum, the only Balanophoracea of ​​the European flora that parasites on the roots of the Cistus and is commonly called Malta mushroom. A great rarity of the Maltese flora is the Melitello pusilla, Compost-Cicoriacea discovered in Malta by S. Sommier in 1906 and then also found in 1912 by A. Borzi on the Derna plateaus. There are many Carduaceae of late spring: Silybum marianum, Notobasis syriaca, Onopordon Sibthorpianum, some Carduus, Galactites tomentosa, etc. In the stubble after harvest they grow: Hypericum crispum, Heliothropium europaeum, Conyza ambigua, Delphinium halteratum, Verbascum sinnatum, some Linaria, euphorbia, Mentha pulegium, Cynodon dactylon. For Malta 2005, please check ehealthfacts.org.

Fauna. – Malta’s fauna is scarce and still very little known. Malta is also known for the presence on the island, as in other Mediterranean islands, of recent fossil remains of dwarf elephants. The dwarf elephants, of which a representative lived in Malta in the Quaternary: the Elephas melitensis (whose size did not exceed that of a small horse), are considered as dwarf forms of the group of the Elephas antiquus, according to Deperet, not due to degenerative causes but to the conservation, due to geographical isolation, of primitive forms of the group of Proboscidia. The currently living fauna differs little from that of the nearby Mediterranean islands, but is characterized by extreme poverty. There are four species of lizards and three of snakes, two tortoises and a frog. Few birds are indigenous, but very many are passing through. The only species of wild mammals are the hedgehog, two species of weasels and some mice.

Malta Flora