An erect shrub 2 to 3 ft high, more rarely procumbent (see below); young shoots clothed with a dense white down, with which are mixed long silky hairs. Leaves three-nerved, those on sterile axillary shoots obovate, up to 5⁄8 in. long and 3⁄16 in. wide, covered with a close, white down, shortly stalked; those on the flowering shoots larger, being up to 13⁄16 in. long and 5⁄16 in. wide, obovate to oblanceolate, sessile, green, deciduous. Panicles erect, but loose and comparatively few-flowered, 3 to 9 in. high, sparsely hairy; flower-stalks slender. Flowers rich yellow, 1 to 11⁄4 in. across, petals triangular, with a black and purple blotch at the base of each. Sepals three, oval-lanceolate, sparsely hairy, or glabrous and glossy.
Native of Portugal and Spain; introduced shortly before 1800. It is a very pretty species, noteworthy for the golden yellow of its flowers and the deeply coloured blotch. It is hardy except in severe winters. It most resembles H. alyssoides and H. halimifolium, but from the former differs in the blotched petals, and glabrous or nearly glabrous sepals. It is never scaly, as in H. halimifolium, and the petal blotch is much deeper.
The first introduction of this species was of prostrate habit and was grown under the name Helianthemum algarvense. It is figured in Bot. Mag., t. 627.