A deciduous shrub 8 to 10 ft high, with long, slender, scourge-like branches, grooved and clothed with fine silky hairs when young. Leaves grey-green, simple, stalkless, narrowly lanceolate, pointed, 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. long, covered with silky hairs beneath. Flowers in short clusters, usually two to four in each, bright yellow, 1⁄2 in. long; standard petal roundish with a notch at the top, about 1⁄2 in. long. Calyx 1⁄6 in. long, silky. Pods very silky, 1⁄2 to 2⁄3 in. long, containing two to five seeds. Blossoms June and July. Bot. Mag., t. 8086.
Native of S.W. Europe, especially of Spain, where it grows on the Sierra Nevada up to an altitude of 6,ooo ft. It is one of the showiest and most desirable of genistas, and although cultivated at Kew for over sixty years is still quite rare in gardens. It is useful in flowering after the majority of the brooms are past. Very similar in leaf and flower to G. tenera (virgata), it may be distinguished by longer, more slender branchlets and less twiggy habit when old, and in its flowers being mostly produced in small lateral clusters (not near the ends of short lateral branchlets as in G. tenera). Also the leaves in G. cinerea are mostly rather small and inconspicuous, often under 1⁄5 in. long (but up to 1⁄2 in. on extension shoots). For the plant grown in gardens as G. cinerea see under G. tenera.
G. ramosissima Poir. – This North African species is very similar to G. cinerea but the flowers (including corolla) are more villous and sessile or very shortly stalked; G. cinerea is less hairy and the flowers distinctly pedicellate.