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Colutea orientalis Mill.

Modern name

Colutea orientalis Mill.


C. cruenta Ait.

A deciduous bush of rounded, close habit, up to 6 ft high, with rather erect branches, often marked with small black warts. Leaves pinnate, 3 to 4 in. long, composed usually of seven or nine leaflets which are broadly obovate or roundish, 14 to 58 in. long, rounded at the end, tapered at the base; very glaucous, glabrous on both surfaces except when quite young. Flowers two to five, clustered towards the end of a raceme 112 to 3 in. long, brownish red or copper-coloured, each 58 in. long, the rounded standard petal 12 in. across, with a yellow spot at the base; wings two-thirds as long as the keel. Calyx slightly hairy. Pod open at the end, 112 in. long, glabrous.

Native of the Orient; introduced to England in 1710. It flowers from June to September, but never makes much display. It is more notable for its grey-white foliage.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

While it is true that this species makes little display, the flowers are strikingly coloured and produced over a long period. Unfortunately, it is difficult to propagate by cuttings, but should set seed in a hot summer. It was reintroduced by Roy Lancaster in 1979, from dry hills above Tbilisi.



Other species in the genus