If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

My photo

I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

03 September, 2015

Petty Whin: the needle furze | Nature Notes from Dorset

Whilst petty whin (Genista anglica) is similar in many respects to the various species of gorse it is not, in fact, closely related. It is a member of the pea family as, of course, are the gorses and has yellow pea flowers and spines on its stems but closer examination shows some differences, notably that the stems and spines are brown and not green. It also has very visible pea leaves which are not visible on gorse.
It can grow up to about a metre tall but is usually much smaller and 'petty' is a corruption of the French for small, petite, while 'whin' is a country name for gorse making this the small gorse but it is very different from the dwarf gorse of our Dorset heaths. In my experience, petty whin is quite uncommon in Dorset and it seems likely it only occurs in a handful of sites on damp heaths. It may be more common across the county border 

Read more: Petty Whin: the needle furze | Nature Notes from Dorset