Centaurea melitensis L.

Family: Asteraceae, Tribe: Cynareae

Pertinent Synonyms & Notes (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other synonyms)


Pertinent Common Names (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other common names)

Malta starthistle

Primary Disseminule Type


Description (diagnostics are in brown)

Fruit a cypsela, oblong to obovate, compressed, cross-section elliptic, 2–3 mm long x 1–1.4 mm wide x 0.8–1 mm thick. Surface finely pubescent, shiny, grayish to purplish-brown with lighter-colored longitudinal stripes. Pappus persistent, consisting of outer whorls of tan, unequal, stiff bristles measuring 1–3 mm long and an inner whorl of short bristles covering the style base.

Style base cylindrical, tan, surrounded by a double collar.

Fruit attachment scar in lateral hook-shaped depression.

Similar Species

Similar Species Comparison Chart

Risk Assessment (codes in yellow or red indicate cause for concern; assessments are current as of mid-2011; click AUQP, NZBORIC, or NZBPI for access to the most recent versions of these databases and possible assessment changes)