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A spiny shrub of dense habit, with interlacing branches, 6 to 15 in. high, usually much more in diameter; young shoots covered with a close, silvery scurf; spines slender, 1⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. long. Leaves narrowly oblong to oblanceolate, tapered at the base, pointed or rounded at the apex, entire; 1⁄2 to 2 in. long, 1⁄16 in. or less wide; covered on both sides with silvery, star-like down. Flowers white or pale rose, fragrant, 3⁄10 in. wide, numerous and closely packed in terminal umbellate racemes 3⁄4 in. wide; petals four, obovate, tapered to the base. Pod circular to obovate, 1⁄8 in. wide, glabrous, terminated by the persistent style.
Native of S.W. Europe and N. Africa, common in calcareous rocky places in S. France and Spain; introduced in 1683. It succeeds very well in full sunshine in rock gardens south of London, flowering in May and June.