Spartium Spartium junceum is a perennial shrub, that can grow up to 9.8 ft. (3 m) high. It has thick waxy stems. The shrub is virgate branched and contains no spines, unlike gorse (Ulex europaeus). The alternate leaves are simple, entire, and more or less strigose, having short petioles. The leaves are about 5-1/2 inches (14 cm) long and 3-1/8 inches (7.9 cm) wide, ornamented with tiny golden hairs; they are lanceolate in outline; pinnatifid acuminate, glandular serrate, and ending in a sharp point.
The flowers are yellow, about 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) long and 3/8 inch (0.9 cm) wide; they grow in clusters at the ends of branches. The flower is bisexual and pentamerous with five petals and sepals, ten stamens, and one pistil. The ovary is inferior and consists of three united carpels, containing one ovule with axile placentation. The fruit is a brownish-yellow ovoid berry about 1/2 inch (1.7 cm) long; it contains two seeds that are not very numerous, but large.
The name Spartium is the ancient Greek name for asparagus, as used by Theophrastus and Dioscorides. The specific epithet junceum means rush-like. This plant belongs to the family of the 'dicotyledons' (class: dicotyledoneae; order: malvales; family: fabaceae or papilionaceae). Wood is used in the production of flutes.
The plant prefers sunny locations and limestone-rich soil, at an altitude of above sea level. It can be found growing in Central Europe, in southern France, in northern Iberia, in Portugal, and in Morocco. It is limited in the north by its intolerance to temperatures below -20°C. It was introduced into Britain in 1640 and has long been one of the most popular plants for ornamental gardens. It has become naturalized in western North America.
Spartium junceum grows best in light well-drained soils either sandy or a loamy type. It grows best in well-drained, warm, and sunny areas. It tolerates acid soils but prefers slightly alkaline soil. The plant can live for many years and is often the dominant species found in coastal dunes and scrubland due to its tolerance to saline conditions and high winds. The plant needs full sunlight or light shade and a position sheltered from the wind. It is tolerant of heavy soils, drought, and neglect.