A very variable shrub, decumbent to erect, 10-200cm in height with small simple leaves and terminal racemes of bright yellow flowers in summer or early autumn. Most of Europe in a variety of habitats. The following variants are good rock garden plants: Typical G. tinctoria, i.e. the plant native to the British Isles and commonly cultivated, is semi-prostrate to decumbent, 30-60cm tall, with hairy stems, narrowly oblong ciliate leaves l-3cm long, and flowers about 1.2-1.5cm in length. G.t. var. prostata is smaller and flatly prostrate. G.t. 'Royal Gold', is more erect, to 60cm or more tall, with flowers in panicles. G.?. 'Plena', has double flowers. The European G.t. var. alpestris, (syn. var. litoralis) is like var. prostrata. G.t. var. anxantica is like typical G. tinctoria but is hairless and has larger flowers. G.t. var. humilior (syn. GG. ovata var. humilior, var. lasiocarpa and perreymondii) are small to medium-sized, usually conspicuously pubescent.