Wild flowers in Malta – As we enter into May we speed headily into springtime. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, allergies got us sneezing – a truly wonderful time of the year! The Maltese Islands are blessed with many indigenous and endemic wild spring species as well as edible ones. Prepare your hiking shoes and get ready to explore and perhaps forage too! Here are the three most common springtime wild flowers in Malta.
“May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel alive.”Fennel Hudson
Fennel is one of Maltese food’s staple herbs. It is used in most dishes, perhaps most regularly in baked potatoes – ‘patata l-forn’. The scientific name is ‘Ridolfia segetum’, more commonly known as false fennel. In Maltese, we call it ‘bużbież il-qamħ’ or ‘Bużbież tal-għelieqi’.
Fennel is an indigenous species, present on the Maltese islands before mankind. It is frequently found so you are sure to stumble along it while walking in the rural areas. You can find it during the months of April, May and June. It is recognizable from its bright yellow colour and long stems.
Another ‘fennel’ species is the Maltese Giant Fennel, or ‘Ferla ta’ Malta’. Its scientific name is ‘Ferula melitensis’ and it is endemic – found only on the Maltese Islands. It can be commonly found between March and May, and looks similar to ‘false fennel’ except that, like the name suggests, it is quite large!
A very common plant species in the Maltese Islands is the ‘Bermuda Buttercup’ or ‘Cape Sorrel’. It is known in Maltese as ‘Qares’, or, interestingly, ‘Ħaxixa Ingliża’, which translates to ‘English plant’. This species was introduced to Malta at around 1492, and has spread incredibly rapidly. The scientific name is ‘Oxalis pes-caprae’ and its yellow flowers grow from December until April.
‘Borago officinalis’, also known as the common borage or ‘Fidloqqom’ in Maltese, is an indigenous plant species. It flowers from December to May and can be very commonly noticed by its purple blue colour. It is especially found in fields like Mistra and Dingli. Borage is the most widely known medicinal plant on the islands, used to treat coughs. Its flowers can be eaten raw and is in fact served to decorate dishes sometimes.
Keep in mind that when you forage plants you know exactly the identity of the wild plant you’re about to pick. Some plants may be poisonous so always refer to photos before ingesting something. It’s also important to respect the wildlife while foraging, never harming wild fauna or picking endangered species.
“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”L M Montgomery
Want to experience the local flower trail for yourself? Book your flights to Malta today.