Ononis rotundifolia reaches on average 20–60 centimetres (7.9–23.6 in) of height, with a maximum of 150 centimetres (59 in). The stem and the leaves are slightly hairy and sticky. The leaves are composed of three irregularly toothed and almost rounded leaflets (hence the specific Latin name rotundifolia), the median one with a long petiole. This plant bears clusters of two or three pink flowers streaked with red, about 15–18 millimetres (0.59–0.71 in) wide. The flowering period extends from June through September. Ononis rotundifolia is also used as an ornamental plant.
This quite rare north-western Mediterranean shrub occurs in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France and Spain, mainly in the Alps, the Cevennes and the Pyrenees.
These plants prefer calcareous soils in dry grasslands, rocky meadows, slopes or hillsides. They can be found at an altitude of 800–1,800 metres (2,600–5,900 ft).
- Ononis rotundifolia var. aristata DC.
- Ononis rotundifolia var. orbiculata Rouy in Rouy & Foucaud
- Pignatti, S. - Flora d'Italia - Edagricole – 1982
- Tutin, T. G., et al., eds. 1964–1980. Flora Europaea
- GRIN Taxonomy for Plants
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