Heathland plants


Petty whin

Petty whin is found throughout the New Forest, but is often scattered and not common.

Elsewhere in Hampshire it has decreased and now only occurs in dwindling numbers on heathland sites in the north of the county. It has also decreased drastically across the UK and apart from the New Forest is found only in eastern Scotland, south Wales and Devon.

Petty whin grows in moist open grasslands and heathland on acid soils. It likes areas where the ground does not get too dry and where the soil is a little richer. The drier fringes of bogs and acid pasturelands are ideal for it. This is a species that definitely requires grazing. One of the main reasons for its decline has been a lack of grazing in many places where it used to grow.

Petty whin flowers in June and July. Many grassy areas, except the closely cropped lawns, will have petty whin. Try looking around Hinchelsea, near Brockenhurst, or Pig Bush, near Beaulieu Road Station.

ID tip – Petty whin has bright yellow pea flower-shaped flowers, small green leaves and long thin spines. It grows as a small, wispy bush up to 75cm tall.

  1. Heathland plants
  2. Bird’s-foot-trefoil
  3. Bracken
  4. Gorse
  5. Heather
  6. Lousewort
  7. Orchid
  8. Petty whin (you are here)
  9. Tormentil
  10. Wild gladiolus
  11. Sundew


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