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Cytisus scoparius - BROOM - WEED

Common Broom - Cytisus scoparius

Cytisus scoparius, the Common Broom, is a perennial leguminous shrub native to western and central Europe.
It typically grows to 1–3 m tall, with main stems up to 5 cm. The shrubs have green shoots with small deciduous trifoliate leaves 5–15 mm long, and in spring and summer is covered in profuse golden yellow flowers 20–30 mm from top to bottom and 15–20 mm wide. Flowering occurs after 50-80 growing degree days. In late summer, its legumes (seed pods) mature black, 2–3 cm long, 8 mm broad and 2–3 mm thick; they burst open, often with an audible crack, forcibly throwing seed from the parent plant. 

Where are they found?

Broom invades pasture, roadsides, forestry blocks, low alpine areas, native grasslands, dry scrubland and braided riverbeds.

Why are they a problem?

Broom can invade a wide range of habitats, potentially causing negative economic and environmental impacts. Prolific seeders, broom grows and spreads rapidly forming dense stands. Because broom species are nitrogen-fixing colonising plants they can alter the soil composition, increasing the potential for further weed invasion. Fire and cultivation encourage seed germination.

Broom Flower courtesy of Tony Wills

Dale McEntee,
May 25, 2012, 3:25 PM