Gibraltar candytuft (Iberis gibraltarica)

Gibraltar candytuft close-up of white flowers
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Gibraltar candytuft fact file

Gibraltar candytuft description

GenusIberis (1)

A low-growing wildflower, the Gibraltar candytuft (Iberis gibraltarica) is an abundant evergreen shrub that is native to the island of Gibraltar (2). A perennial species, the Gibraltar candytuft has green, fleshy leaves which may be oblong, wedge- or spoon-shaped, with distinctly toothed tips and a slight covering of fine hairs (3) (4).

The Gibraltar candytuft produces large, showy flowers of pink, pale lavender or white, sometimes suffused with red (3) (4) (5). Four petals form the shape of a cross, although the two inner petals have developed to become much larger than the outer petals (5). The lower outer flowers open first and have longer stems than those towards the middle, creating a beautiful flat-topped inflorescence which covers the entire plant when it is in bloom (5)

Part of the common name of this species, ‘candytuft’, was originally given to Iberis umbellata, from Crete, and is derived from ‘Candia’, the old Venetian name for Heraklion, the capital of Crete (5).


Gibraltar candytuft biology

The Gibraltar candytuft is known to flower in early spring (3) (5). Very little else is known about the biology of the Gibraltar candytuft.


Gibraltar candytuft range

The Gibraltar candytuft is native to the island of Gibraltar in southern Europe (5) (6).


Gibraltar candytuft habitat

In the wild, the Gibraltar candytuft is common among crevices on the north face of the Rock of Gibraltar (5). It appears to prefer warm spots on banks or rocky places (2), and thrives in poor, dry soils (4).


Gibraltar candytuft status

The Gibraltar candytuft has not yet been classified by the IUCN.


Gibraltar candytuft threats

There are no known major threats to the Gibraltar candytuft and it is not currently considered at risk of extinction.


Gibraltar candytuft conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place which specifically target the Gibraltar candytuft.

ARKive is supported by OTEP, a joint programme of funding from the UK FCO and DFID which provides support to address priority environmental issues in the Overseas Territories, and Defra

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Find out more about conservation in Gibraltar and other UK Overseas Territories:



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A plant which retains leaves all year round. This is in contrast to deciduous plants, which completely lose their leaves for part of the year.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
A plant that normally lives for more than two seasons. After an initial period, the plant produces flowers once a year.


  1. ITIS (February, 2011)
  2. Robinson, W. (1870) The Wild Garden; or Our Groves and Shrubberies Made Beautiful by the Naturalization of Hardy Exotic Plants. Savill, Edwards and Co., Printers, London.
  3. Robinson, W. (1878) Hardy Flowers. Applewood Books, Bedford, Massachusetts.
  4. Australian Seed - Gibraltar candytuft (February, 2011)
  5. Freeth, R. (2009) At home on Rock of Gibraltar. Otago Daily Times, 31 July. Available at:
  6. United Kingdom Overseas Territories Conservation Forum: Gibraltar (February, 2011)

Image credit

Gibraltar candytuft close-up of white flowers  
Gibraltar candytuft close-up of white flowers

© Hemant Jariwala /

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