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A deciduous shrub up to 5 or 6 ft high in the open; twice as high when drawn up in shrubberies. Although the leaves fall in autumn, the plant, by the greenness of its branches, retains an evergreen aspect through the winter. Branchlets erect, straight, prominently angled, hairy when young. Leaves at the base of the shoot trifoliolate and stalked, those near the end stalkless and often reduced to one leaflet. Leaflets obovate, sometimes narrowly so, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. long, glabrous except beneath when quite young. Flowers a rich glowing yellow, 1 in. long, produced singly or in pairs from the joints of the year-old shoots in May; standard petal round, 3⁄4 in. across; calyx glabrous. Pod 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, hairy, especially on the margins.
Native of W. Europe, and the only cytisus native of the British Isles, over which it is widely spread. C. scoparius has been regarded as a distinct genus, Sarothamnus Wimmer, distinguished by a number of floral characters, of which the chief was the long, incurved, circinnate-convolute style. However, Bentham, in Bentham and Hooker f., Genera Plantarum, Vol. 1, p. 484 (1865), and in his British Flora, ed. 2, p. 110 (1866), reduced it to Cytisus, noting that there are species which ‘show a gradual passage from the long spiral to the short and straight style’. In the Genera Plantarum Sarothamnus was treated as a section of Cytisus, and this was followed by Briquet in his Études sur les Cytises des Alpes Maritimes (1894), where he has eleven species in the section.
† f. indefessus McClintock – Flowers borne throughout the summer and even during winter in mild spells, but with the main flush at the normal time and again in August – September. A colony of this new form was found by David McClintock on a roadside bank near Lochmariaquer in southern Brittany in September 1962 and seed collected. Although varying in habit and amount of flower, all the seedlings had this remarkably long flowering season (D. McClintock, The Garden (Journ. R.H.S.), Vol. 103 (1978), pp 37–8).
† C. striatus (Hill) Rothm. Snake-bark Broom
$Genista striata Hill; C. pendulina L.f.; Sarothamnus eriocarpus Boiss. & Reut.
Sarothamnus scoparius subsp. maritimus (Rouy & Fouc.) Ulrich