Scientific Name:
Centaurea melitensis L.
Vernacular Name(s):
Malta thistle; Maltese cockspur

Annual or biennial. Stems erect, ribbed, branched above, (10)–25–60 cm tall, with sparse to dense multicellular and cobwebby hairs. Lvs decurrent on stems, with both short curved and sparse cobwebby hairs; lower lvs oblanceolate to spathulate, toothed to lyrate-pinnatifid, 5–8 × 0.5–1.5 cm; upper lvs linear-spathulate to linear-lanceolate, becoming smaller. Capitula shortly stalked or subsessile, often clustered. Involucre broadly ovoid to globose, (6)–8–12 mm diam.; outer and middle bracts ovate, not veined, glabrescent or with sparse to dense cobwebby hairs; appendages recurved to spreading, not covering bracts, spinous, not narrowed at junction with bract, not decurrent on bract; terminal spine 6–10 mm long, pale or red-brown; lateral spines (2)–3–(4) on each side, 1–3 mm long, in (1)–2–(3) pairs at base of terminal spine, the other pair in basal ⅓ of terminal spine. Florets yellow, the outer slightly radiate. Corolla densely clothed in glandular papillae. Achenes c. 3 mm long, pubescent; pappus c. 2 mm long.

[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]


Flowering: (Oct.)–Dec.–Feb.; Fruiting: Dec.–May.