Genista tinctoria - L.
Common Name Dyer's Greenweed, Common Woadwaxen, Broom
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 4-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Meadows, pastures, heaths and the edges of fields[4], especially on poor soils[11].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Norway to the Mediterranean, east to the Urals, Caucasus and W. Asia
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Oval, Upright or erect.

Genista tinctoria Dyer
Genista tinctoria Dyer
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Genista tinctoria is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Condiment.

The seed has been suggested as a possible coffee substitute[177, 183]. The flower buds are pickled and used as a substitute for capers[2, 183]. Used as a vegetable[105].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Cathartic;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Homeopathy;  Stimulant;  Vasoconstrictor.

The twigs, leaves and flowering stems are cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, stimulant and vasoconstrictor[4, 9, 21, 46]. The seeds are also sometimes used[4]. The plant is harvested in early summer as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use[9]. It should not be stored for more than 12 months since its active ingredients break down[238]. The powdered seeds act as a mild purgative and were at one time used to make a plaster for broken limbs[244]. A decoction of the whole plant has been used as a remedy for dropsy, rheumatism and gout[4, 9, 244]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh shoots[9]. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism[9].


Other Uses
Dye;  Fibre.

A very good quality yellow dye is obtained from the whole plant, but especially from the flowers and young shoots[4, 9, 11, 57, 66, 141, 169, 244]. It produces a very good quality green when mixed with woad (Isatis tinctoria)[11, 238]. Alum, cream of tartar and sulphate of lime are used to fix the colour[4]. The stems can be dried and stored until the dye is required[169]. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for coarse cloth and cordage[4, 169]. Plants can be used as a ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way[208]. The cultivar 'Flore Pleno' is always dwarf and is more reliable than the species[208].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Erosion control, Foundation, Massing, Specimen. Easily grown in a light well-drained soil in a sunny position[1, 11]. Prefers a rather dry soil, tolerating poor and sandy soils[238]. Prefers a lime-free soil[244]. Succeeds in acid or basic soils. A very cold-tolerant plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -35°c[200]. Resents root disturbance and should only be transplanted whilst young[11, 169]. Sometimes cultivated as a dye plant, it is usually treated as a biennial for this purpose, the whole plant being harvested in the second year[141]. Plants do not require pruning, but they can be cut back as required once they have finished flowering in order to maintain shape[238]. Polymorphic, a number of named forms have been developed for their ornamental value[182]. A good bee plant[20]. Rabbits love eating this plant[169, K]. Cows also eat the plant, but it taints their milk[4]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. Special Features:Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
The seed requires a period of cold stratification and is best sown autumn in a cold frame. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow February in a cold frame. Good germination[78]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Roots are formed in the spring[11]. Cuttings of ripe wood, 5 - 10 cm with a heel, September/October in a frame. Good percentage. Plant out the following autumn[78].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Subject : Genista tinctoria  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
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