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 Weather Station

Products > Dorycnium hirsutum
Dorycnium hirsutum - Hairy Canaryflower

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Portugal (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pinkish White
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [Bonjeanea hirsuta, Lotus hirsutus, Cytisus lotus]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Dorycnium hirsutum (Hairy Canaryflower) - A low growing evergreen subshrub that grows to 1 to 2 feet tall with a woody base and soft gray-white fuzzy foliage composed of three sessile 1 inch long oval leaflets subtended by similarly-shaped stipules and white clover-like flowers with pinkish-red veins that are held at the branch ends in 1 1/2 inch wide clusters in the summer through fall, followed by shiny cylindrical red-brown seed pods. Plant in full sun and irrigate little to not at all - very drought tolerant in coastal gardens once established. It thrives in alkaline soils and is cold hardy and evergreen to about 20F, but can resprout from temperatures possibly as low as 5 F. Though a bit short lived in the garden, it can be cut back to flush attractive new foliage and often self sows. It is a great plant for softening the edge of a pathway or spilling over low rocks or a raised bed. Dorycnium hirsutum is naturally widespread throughout the northern Mediterranean region from Portugal east through Spain, France Italy, Greece and Turkey and on Crete, Corsica, and the Balearic Islands. Although it is often called the Hairy Canaryflower or Canary Clover, it does not naturally inhabit the Canary Islands, though other species of Dorycnium are found there. This plant was described by Linnaeus as Lotus hirsutus and as Bonjeanea hirsuta (sometimes as Bonjeania) by the German botanist and ornithologist Ludwig Reichenbach (1793 - 1879) who named it for French botanist Joseph Bonjean (1819 - 1842) but its current correct name, as described by the French physician and botanist Nicolas Charles Seringe (1776 1858), is Dorycnium hirsutum. This plant has also been in the horticultural trade as Cytisus lotus and was first introduced into cultivation in Europe in 1683 but the first mention we have found of its cultivation in US gardens is in Liberty Hyde Bailey's Hortus Second in 1941. The name comes from the ancient Greek word 'doryknion' used by Dioscorides for a seaside plant, perhaps a species of Convolvulus, before the name was transferred to this genus. The meaning of the word comes from the Greek words 'dory' meaning "spear" and 'knaein' meaning "to smear" in reference to application of the poisonous sap of that plant on spears used in battle, though there is no indication that the plants in the genus now using the name Dorycnium are poisonous. The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'hirsutus' meaning "shaggy", "hairy" or "bristly" in reference to the leaves being covered with hair.  The information on this webpage is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of it as it grows in the nursery in containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it growing. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Dorycnium hirsutum.