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Genista aetnensis (Bivona) DC.

Modern name

Genista aetnensis (Biv.) DC.


Spartium aetnense Bivona

A tall shrub up to 15 or 20 ft high, occasionally even more, with a main stem 6 to 12 in. thick, and assuming the form of a small tree of erect, sparse habit, with very little foliage, but numerous slender, bright green, rushlike branches, which are pendulous when young. Leaves very few and scarcely noticeable, being narrow, linear, and 14 to 12 in. long. Flowers produced in great profusion in July, scattered singly on the shoots of the year towards the end, each 12 in. or so across, the petals golden yellow, the calyx green, angular-toothed, bell-shaped. Seed-pods 12 in. long, ending in a sharp, decurved point and carrying two or three seeds.

Native of Sardinia and Sicily, and found on the slopes of Mt Etna at altitudes of 3,000 to 6,000 ft. It flowers during July and early August, when few hardy shrubs are in bloom; being of great beauty then, this broom is one of the most valuable of all its kind. Its tall habit makes it useful for planting at the back of shrubberies, where it can overtop without unduly shading other things. Although practically devoid of foliage, the bright green young branchlets give the plant almost the quality of an evergreen. It always makes a conspicuous feature in the grounds at Kew in July. It is a very hardy shrub. There is a fine specimen about 30 ft high in a private garden on Kew Green.



Other species in the genus