A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.




Of this genus – to which belongs the common ‘rest-harrow’ (O. repens) of our waysides and fields – only two or three species can be included amongst hardy shrubs, the majority being herbaceous or only slightly woody. They are natives of S. Europe. The leading characteristics of the genus are the alternate, trifoliolate, toothed leaves, the five long, narrow divisions of the calyx, the pea-shaped flowers, the stamens united in one bundle, and the slightly swollen seed-pods. The undermentioned are useful in flowering later in the season than the bulk of hardy shrubs, and are easily cultivated in moderately good soil in a sunny spot. Propagated by seeds, or, failing them, cuttings. Besides the three here described, O. natrix L. (Bot. Mag., t. 329), is sometimes included in lists of shrubs. It is a rather showy plant with yellow flowers, the standard petal 1 in. across, but it is only partially woody and not long-lived. A native of S. Europe and popularly called ‘Goat-root’. O. arvensis L., closely allied to the common rest-harrow, is also sometimes cultivated for ornament.

Species articles