The Needle Whin is not so well known as the Common Whin or the Broom, though it belongs to the same family. It is very common, and you will find plenty of it in spring and early summer growing close to the ground among the heather.
The flowers are pale yellow, with six petals very like those of the Common Whin or the Broom, only much smaller. You find five or six flowers growing close together on a trailing woody stem.
Each flower sits in a green cup, which is made up of five sepals joined together. Round the mouth of the cup are five sharp teeth, and you can see, much more clearly than in the Common Whin or in the Broom, where each separate sepal begins.
After the petals and stamens fall off, the seed-vessels grow into large, fat pods which are commonly tinged with purple.
If you are not in the country until the petals have fallen, you will easily recognise the Needle Whin by these fat pods. Sometimes five or six or more grow near the top of each short stem.
The leaves of this tiny Whin are very small and have scarcely any stalks. Growing up the main stem are many very fine spines or leaf-thorns, as sharp as needles.
From these the plant gets its name.
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