A very spiny, gorse-like shrub, the young shoots very stiff, more or less hairy, ribbed, the spines mostly three-pronged or branched, 1⁄2 to 2 in. long, downy. Leaves quite small, narrowly obovate to oval, stalkless, 1⁄6 to 1⁄2 in. long, 1⁄12 to 1⁄4 in. wide, ciliate. Flowers yellow, 1⁄3 to 1⁄4 in. long, solitary in the axils of the spines or a few in short clusters, very copiously produced and sometimes collectively forming very handsome, woody, columnar panicles over 1 ft. long; bracts and bracteoles minute or absent; calyx glabrous or thinly downy. Pods inflated, glabrous, sickle-shaped, up to 1⁄2 in. long.
Native of W. Spain and W. Portugal, on acid soils. It flowers in late April and early May.
G. berberidea Lange – This species is closely allied to G. falcata, but differs in its densely hairy calyx and in the presence of conspicuous bracteoles on the flower-stalks. Native of the north-western parts of the Iberian peninsula.
Both the above species are allied to G. anglica, but that species is distinguished by its usually low and spreading habit and by the combination of a glabrous calyx and the inflorescence with conspicuous bracts and bracteoles.