A rounded bushy shrub 3 ft high, with deciduous leaves, but evergreen from the green colour of the shoots. Branches opposite, distinctly grooved, slender, occasionally spine-tipped, very distinctly jointed. Leaves opposite, trifoliolate, stalkless, consisting of three narrowly linear leaflets, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, silky. They soon fall, but short shoots are produced in their axils which serve as photosynthetic organs. The flowers are in a terminal head of about six blossoms; bracteoles on the flower-stalks shorter than the calyx-tube. Each flower is about 1⁄2 in. long, deep yellow; calyx silky; standard petal glabrous or with a line of hairs down the centre. Pods silky, ovate, tapering at the end to a sharp curved point, usually one-seeded.
Native of the southern Alps, extending southward into central Italy and western Yugoslavia, with a few localities farther south and east. The var. sericopetala Bucheg., which differs in its uniformly silky standards and in having the bracteoles on the flower-stalks longer than the calyx-tube, is found mainly in S.E. France and N.W. Italy but is also reported from Greece. More distinct is:
var. nana Spach G. holopetala (Fleischmann) Baldacci; Cytisus holopetala Fleischmann ex K. Koch – Of lower, more cushion-like habit. Such plants occur in N.W. Yugoslavia (e.g., on the Velebitska Planina) and are said to differ from the type in certain botanical characters which might be of specific value if well correlated.