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

Popular posts from this blog

Pelvetia canaliculata: the channelled wrack

Labyrinth Spider (Agelena labyrinthica)