Ricotia lunaria, Maltese Cross Ricotia, Egyptian honesty,
Hebrew: כרמלית נאה, Arabic:‎ ريكتية قمرية ، سيلان

Scientific name:  Ricotia lunaria (L.) DC.
Common name:  Maltese Cross Ricotia, Egyptian honesty
Hebrew name:  Carmelite Na-ah, כרמלית נאה
Arabic name:  ريكتية قمرية ، سيلان
Plant Family:  Brassicaceae, מצליבים

Ricotia lunaria, Maltese Cross Ricotia, Egyptian honesty, ريكتية قمرية ، سيلان,כרמלית נאה

Life form:  Therophyte, annual
Leaves:  Alternate, dissected, pinnate or bipinnate, dentate or serrate
Flowers:   4 pink petals arranged in the form of a cross, which resembles the Carmelite cross.
Flowering Period:   January, February, March, April
Habitat:  Batha, Phrygana
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon
Chorotype:  Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Native plants of Palestine


Derivation of the botanical name:
Ricotia, probably named after M. Ricot, an obscure French botanist.
lunaria, Latin luna, "moon," for the flat, round seedpod that resembles a full moon; moon-podded.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
  • The standard author abbreviation DC. is used to indicate Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778 – 1841), a Swiss botanist.

Maltese Cross, the four petals of the Ricotia lunaria are arranged in the form of a cross, which resembles the Carmelite cross. The Carmelites is a Catholic religious order perhaps founded in the 12th century on Mount Carmel, hence its name. They chose Mount Carmel in part because it was the traditional home of Elijah. The Discalced Carmelites, or Barefoot Carmelites ("O.C.D.), is a Catholic mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. The order was established in 1593, pursuant to the reform of the Carmelite Order by Teresa of Ávila, (baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, 1515 – 1582), and John of the Cross, San Juan de la Cruz, 1542 – 1591 (born Juan de Yepes Alvarez).


Ricotia lunaria, Maltese Cross Ricotia, כרמלית נאה


Ricotia lunaria, Maltese Cross Ricotia, כרמלית נאה
Location: Road 87, Yahudiya; Date Picture Taken: February 25, 2011


Native plants of Israel
Location: Road 87, Yahudiya