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Genista horrida (Vahl) DC.

Modern name

Echinospartum horridum (M.Vahl) Rothm.


Spartium horridum Vahl; Echinospartium horridum (Vahl) Rothm.; Cytisanthus horridus (Vahl) Gams

A dwarf, flat-topped, very spiny shrub of close, tufted habit; stems grooved, opposite, rigid, ending in a sharp spine, and clothed with short silky hairs at first, later glabrous. Leaves opposite, small, trifoliolate, composed of three linear leaflets 14 to 38 in. long, covered with silky hairs. Flowers 38 to 12 in. long, produced in small terminal heads, three to eight together, standing just clear of the branches; yellow. Calyx, flower-stalk, and pod hairy. Calyx inflated.

Native of the Pyrenees; introduced in 1821. Although hardy enough, it does not always flower freely, and is not much grown. Our climate apparently is not sunny enough to develop its full beauty. It is one of the interesting groups of genistas with opposite leaves and branches, and does not appear likely to become more than 112 to 212 ft high. The whole plant has a silvery grey hue, and forms a dense, cushion-like mass. A specimen in the Kew Herbarium collected in Spain by the late N. Y. Sandwith on 13 July 1957, is annotated: ‘The arid, eroded mountainsides of the Spanish Pyrenees are golden with the flowers of this species in July.’



Other species in the genus