The generic name is derived from the Greek word kytisos, meaning shrub-like clover and refers to the resemblance of the blossoms to those of clover, which also belongs to the family Papilionaceae. The genus contains some 50 species found chiefly in western Europe and the Mediterranean region. They are mostly shrubs or small trees, some deciduous, some evergreen. The leaves are trifoliate, only occasionally simple, sometimes stunted. Theare borne either singly in the arils of the leaves or in terminal clusters and the petals are not joined.
The illustrated shrub is a cross between Cyiisus multiflorus and C. purgans. It grows to a height of 2 m (6 ft) and flowers in May and June. The flowers are pale yellow, the leaves generally simple. Well-known garden forms include ‘Albus’, with pure white flowers; ‘Allgold’, with large yellow blossoms; ‘Hollandia’, purplish-red; and ‘Zeelandia’, lilac-pink. The members of this genus are easily crossed, giving rise to many hybrid varieties, the best known being ‘Burkwoodii’, carmine-red; ‘Killiney Red’, salmon-pink, and ‘Newry Seedling’, creamy white.
Cytisus praecox is propagated by means of seeds which are sown in the autumn immediately after harvesting. It can also be raised from half-ripe as well as hardwood cuttings in August. It has no specialrequirements and will grow even in comparatively poor sandy soil, but needs full sun. It may be planted in rock gardens and in compact groups.