categoryZShrubs Shrubs List 
categoryZBroadleaf Broadleaf List 
categoryZDeciduous Deciduous List 

SPANISH GORSE

Genista hispanica

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Broadleaf
category
category8Deciduous
status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZclustered
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8angular
 
stem
stem8spines
spines
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 
contact
contactZmedium
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Not really a Gorse (Ulex species), but more a Broom because it is in the Genista genus - although it does have primary leaves which are long-cylindrical with a very sharp(!) point. It also has proper leaves. The brown areas are dead-wood from last year which has not re-grown. The shrub is deciduous and not native, but rather a neophyte.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Just coming into flower; a few splashes of yellow can be espied creeping out of some of the 'leaves'.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Side-on view of the numerous flowers still hiding within each terminal set of 'leaves'.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The stems have numerous branched sharp spines branching off. A single branch with branches bearing terminal leaves hiding the presence of numerous flowers getting ready to open. Photosynthetic sharp-spiny leaves also branch off.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves surrounding the numerous flowers at the tip get left behind on the extending stem until you can see the flowers that were snugly hidden within. Stems, leaves and sepal teeth all long-hairy. Leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate joining directly to the stem without stalks (aka sessile).


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The number of flowers within each terminal cluster varies - this one has at least 8 flowers. The flowers themselves are still tightly shut.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves take two forms; these are the prickly spiny leaves, which are branched.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
These leaves are tipped by a very sharp(!) point. Some might liken them to the spines on Gorse, but this plant is a Broom which don't have spines.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The very slight grooves on these 'spiny' types of leaves are more pronounced after they have shrivelled and died.


12th April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A woody stem (this one seems broken near the top) with a set of flowers branching of as well as several sets of branched spiny leaves branching off. These sharp leaves are a good deterrent for protecting the plant!


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Two weeks later the bushes are in full flower; it has been a very sunny and warm(ish). The brown dead parts are still dead, but nevertheless still very spiny!


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Surrounded by masses of small bunches of yellow flowers; many yet to emerge.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowering stalk has grown longer leaving the leaves (which were once shielding the flowers) behind lower down on the stem. The flowers are now free to open properly.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are in short and dense terminal racemes. Perhaps about 8 in each raceme(?). The banner raises up leaving the keel (2 inner petals) mostly hidden by the two wings, which never open very widely.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
On the right the pair of wings has opened possibly as far as they do leaving the innermost keel pair still clasped together in 'prayer'.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The keel pair of petals do part slightly showing the anthers and style nestled within. Even some of the 5 the petals have long hairs!


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Your Author cheated here because the wind was so strong that there was no chance of catching a decent photo of the flowers without picking one and hiding from the wind behind a wooden fence. The central flower has an upright banner, two slightly parted and curved wings allowing sight of the slightly-parted keel displaying the male and female sexual organs within.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The filaments curl slightly upwards with the anthers slightly protruding from the keel.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The sepal cup is pale-green and splits into 5 long teeth, all with long white hairs. Hairs are also to be seen on some of the petals.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Hairy sepal cup and 5 sepal teeth (two hidden behind). It seems that the tips of the keel are hairier than the other petals.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The slightly-opened clasping keel pair displaying their stamens (and the single pale-green style with discoidal stigma which you can just make out on the lower flower). It seems the keel has a beard.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The pale-green style is just about visible curling out of the keel.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The anthers are curling upwards out of the keel on this one. It looks like the two lower sepal teeth are longer than the upper 3.


23rd April 2019, factory fence, Horwich Parkway, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The pale green style and many anthers poking their noses out of the keel. Hairy chin (er, keel).


Not to be semantically confused with : Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Western Gorse (Ulex gallii), Dwarf Gorse (Ulex minor), Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum), Spanish Dagger (Yucca gloriosa), Spanish-needles (Bidens bipinnata), Spanish Box (Buxus balearica), Spanish Valerian (Centranthus macrosiphon), Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica), Spanish Iris (Iris xiphium), Spanish Daffodil (Narcissus hispanicus), Spanish Stonecrop (Sedum hispanicum), Spanish Catchfly (Silene otites), [plants with similar names from disparate families]

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

The fruits are glabrous (without hairs) to hairy. [Photos still to take, possibly in July?].

It is found in Cardiganshire since 1927, and scattered in the rest of the UK, but is not native to the UK. Apparently our plants (in the UK) are nearly all the sub-species ssp. occidentalis which has hairs which are flat against the stems and leaves and a banner (aka standard) of 8-11mm - this is the species depicted above (where the only hairs which are patent (aka sticking out) are on the sepals). The sub-species, ssp. hispanica has hairs which stick out and a smaller banner of just 6-8mm long .

It grows on rocky or sandy hills and roadsides. It is frequently planted, from where it may escape. Here definitely planted.


  Genista hispanica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Genista
Genista
(Greenweeds)

SPANISH GORSE

Genista hispanica

Pea Family [Fabaceae]