This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The habitat of this plant is meadows, fields, heaths, sunny pastures, coarse pastures, and the plant also grows under the shade of trees and in coppices. The plant has the shrub habit. The stem is smooth, branched, rigid, furrowed. The branches are erect or ascending, without thorns, downy above. The leaflets are lance-shaped, elliptic, oblong, hairy at the border, closely pressed. The stipules are very small, awl-shaped. The flowers are yellowr, in slender racemes. The keel is hairless, as long as the standard. The calyx is deciduous above the base, with sharp, long teeth. The pod is hairless. The plant is 1-2 ft. high, flowering from July to September, and is a perennial shrub.
This is an ericetal species, found on gravelly heaths or dry sandy heaths. The habit is prostrate, then ascending. The plant is not armed with spines, but covered with silky hair (hence pilosa). The stem is woody, branched, spreading, curved, furrowed, wavy. The leaves are i-foliate, the leaflets inversely ovate to lance-shaped, blunt, shortly-stalked. The stipules are blunt and ovate. The flowers are in short, leafy racemes, yellow, and the flower-stalks are lateral, with a tuft of leaves. The calyx has 2 upper lance-shaped lobes, the 3 lower being awl-like. The keel and standard are downy. The pod is hairy, flat, at length falling. The plant is 6-12 in. in height, flowering between May and September. It is a perennial shrub.
This is a native species, and ericetal, growing on heaths and moist moors or moist peaty heaths. The habit is that of a shrub. The plant is ascending, however, not prostrate, as in the last, and a further difference is the spinous stem (hence Needle Furze). The stem is smooth, not hairy, with slender, spreading, curved branches, leafless below, the flowering branches having no thorns, and smooth. The spines are slender, simple, bent-back. The leaflets are ovate to lance-shaped. There are no stipules, or only obsolete ones. The flowers are in a short, leafy raceme, solitary, yellow, on short stalks, in the axils of the leaflets. The corolla is smooth. The keel is longer than the standard. The calyx is persistent, with short, triangular teeth. The pod is inflated, with a short point at each end, deciduous. The plant is 1-2 ft. in height, flowering in May and June, and is a perennial shrub.
The habitat of this plant is heaths and downs in the West. The plant has the shrub habit. The stem is hairy, with spreading branches. The young leaves are smooth, fringed with hairs, and furrowed. The primary spines are strong and smooth, bent-down, rigid, half-round in section. The flowers are orange-yellow, lateral and terminal, with small bracts pressed to the stem. The calyx is finely downy, with spreading teeth. The corolla has the petals more or less spreading. The wings are not straight. The pods burst open. The plant is 1-5 ft. in height, flowering between July and November, and is a perennial shrub.