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Dyer's greenweed

Dyer's greenweed in full flower.

Dyer's greenweed is a small deciduous shrub with green, upright, twiggy stems. It's a good plant for hot, dry sites such as rock gardens. Prefers acidic, well-drained soil and thrives in nutritionally poor soils. The bright yellow flowers appear from June through September and are used as a dye.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Genista tinctoria

All Common Names:

Dyer's greenweed, common woadwaxen, woadwaxen, Dryer's broom

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Size Range:

  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Size & Form

An upright, twiggy shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high.

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun in well drained, acidic soil. Tolerant of light sandy to medium loamy soils.
Thrives on neglect and nutritionally poor soil.
Does not transplant well.
Flowers on new growth, prune after flowering to encourage a second flush of flowers.

Disease, pests, and problems

Not tolerant tolerant of salt or wet soils

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of windy sites

Native geographic location and habitat

Europe, Asia, Mediterranean

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Butterflies and bees

Bark color and texture 

The bright green twiggy stems can add winter interest.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, bright green, 1-inch long, elliptical narrow leaves with pointed tips

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Bright yellow, 1 inch long  flowers on erect racemes; sporatic flowering throughout the summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A 1/2 to 3/4 inch long pod

Cultivars and their differences 

Bangle Dryer's Greenweed (Genista lydia 'Select'): 2 to 3 feet high, low mounded shrub with electric yellow flowers.

Flora-Pleno Dryer's Greenweed (Genista 'Plena'): a dwarf, semi-prostrate shrub with brilliant yellow flowers.

Location of Genista tinctoria (Dyer's greenweed) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.