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Cytisus proliferus L. f.


Modern name

Cytisus proliferus L.f.

An evergreen shrub found wild only on the islands of Teneriffe and Gomera. It is very closely related to palmensis, which used to be regarded as a variety of it until given separate specific rank by Dr Hutchinson (see Kew Bulletin, 1918, p. 21). It is of similarly lax habit and produces long, slender, downy stems. Leaves of three leaflets which are mostly of linear shape and narrower in proportion to their length than those of C. palmensis; the best distinction is provided by the covering of silky hairs (not mere down) beneath. Flowers white, 1 in. long, produced in clusters of four to seven towards the end of short, axillary, leaf-bearing shoots during April. Calyx 12 in. long, funnel-shaped, with narrow triangular lobes, very downy.

As with C. palmensis, the young shoots are highly valued as a fodder in the Canary Islands, the plants being cut back annually in the same way as osiers are. The endemic character of these and other brooms in the Canary Islands is very interesting. C. proliferus is wild only on Teneriffe and Gomera; C. palmensis and another species, C. pallidus, on La Palma; C. perezii on Grand Canary and Hierro; C. stenopetalus on La Palma, Gomera, and Hierro.

C. proliferus is grown in Cornwall, where it gets to be 12 or 15 ft high, the long slender shoots wreathed with flowers being very handsome in spring. A plant grown there as ‘Miss Wingfield’s Variety’ is undoubtedly C. proliferus, but possibly an improved form. C. palmensis is also grown there under the name of C. proliferus.

C. perezii Hutchins., is in cultivation. It differs from palmensis and proliferus in having the leaflets silky-hairy on both sides, and in their being distinctly obovate, averaging 114 in. long by 38 in. wide. Known as ‘Escabon de Canaria’.



Other species in the genus