Coronilla valentina – Mediterranean Crown Vetch
Fragrant, bright yellow flowers cover this plant for a long period over winter.
This evergreen shrub has a spidery growth habit and grows to about 0.8M. The pea-like flowers are born on short stalks in a rounded umbel-shaped head, which forms a crown – hence, coronilla. The flowers are remarkably fragrant in the daytime but are almost scentless at night.
C. valentina comes from the open rocky hillsides of southern Europe, especially Portugal and Malta. It has been awarded the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the UK Royal horticultural Society (RHS).
Soil / Aspect:
This plant needs an open sunny site and well drained soil. In Portugal it is often planted on banks to prevent soil erosion. As well as fixing nitrogen for itself, this plant enriches the soil in which it is growing. Whilst it may prefer calcarious soil, it does not seem to be too choosy, thriving in the acid soil of our personal garden in Motueka.
This is a fast growing plant that can become leggy and need replacing, which can be done easily enough from cuttings. It does seem to respond well to pruning as a small hedge. It can also be grown from seed, but these plants will be variable so if you have a good specimen then cuttings is the way to go.