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A deciduous shrub about 2 ft high, with spiny, hairy shoots; spines mostly branched, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. wide, hairy especially about the margins, dark green. Racemes 1 to 2 in. long, terminating leafy, spineless shoots. Flowers yellow, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long; standard petal reflexed. Pods 1⁄2 in. long, hairy. Blossoms in June.
This species is fairly widely distributed, from S.W. France through central Europe to western central Russia and as far south-east as Bulgaria. Its nearest ally is G. anglica (q.v. for the marks of difference). It is apt to grow rank, and become rather ragged in rich garden soil; a sunny, rather dry position suits it best.