Colutea arborescens

The Colutea arborescens is a perfect shrub for growing in gardens where rainfall is rather low. Its height once adult is also very interesting, since it allows us to have it either as a hedge or as an isolated specimen.

But, how do you take care of yourself and how long does it resist the cold? If you want to know the answers to these questions, don’t worry that after reading this article you will know everything about her .

Origin and characteristics

Image – Wikimedia/ Stefan.lefnaer

Our protagonist is a deciduous shrub whose scientific name is Colutea arborescens, although it is popularly known as wolf scare, mad ash tree, rattles or mad sheep. It is native to the Mediterranean region to Central Europe. In Spain we will see it in the eastern, central and southern half of the Iberian Peninsula, including Portugal. It usually coexists with Aleppo, Gallic and Kermes pines, from sea level to 1700 meters above sea level.

It reaches a height of 1 to 3 meters, and has odd-pinnate compound leaves composed of 5-11 leaflets. The flowers, which bloom in spring, are butterfly-shaped, yellow, and appear in small hanging clusters. The fruit is a large, hollow and inflated legume 3-6cm long by 3cm wide, and inside we will find its seeds.


Three are known:

  • Colutea arborescens subsp. arborescens: it is found in Catalonia, northern Aragon, the Valencian Community and the province of Cuenca.
  • Colutea arborescens subsp. atlantica: grows in Spain (east, center and south of the peninsula), Morocco and Algeria.
  • Colutea arborescens subp. gallica: we will see it from Spain to Austria and the former Yugoslavia.

What are their cares?

Image – Wikimedia/ Jeantosti

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

  • Location: it must be outside, in full sun.
  • Land:
    • Pot: mix universal growing medium with 30% perlite.
    • Garden: the soil must be fertile and have good drainage.
  • Watering: about 3 times a week in summer, and every 4-5 days the rest.
  • Subscriber: in spring and summer, with organic fertilizers once a month.
  • Multiplication: by seeds in spring.
  • Rusticity: resists up to -12ºC.

What did you think of the wolf scare? Did you know him?

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