Brief Summary

provided by EOL authors

Cytisus scoparius (Broom; syn. Sarothamnus scoparius) is a species in the pea family Fabaceae. It is native to much of Europe, from the British Isles east to southern Scandinavia, south to Iberia, and east to Belarus and Romania. Further northeast, its range is limited by its lack of tolerance of severe winter cold, with temperatures below around -25° to -30°C killing the stems. It is a woody shrub with green photosynthetic shoots, and small caducous leaves present only in spring and early summer. The leaves are simple or trifoliate, 5-15 mm long. Young shoots remain green for several years, silky-hairy at first, and have up to five small longitudinal ridges. Older stems have finely flaky to stringy grey-brown bark. The flowers are bright yellow, 1-2 cm long in bud opening to 2-3 cm long, with the typical pea flower structure; they are produced in mid spring to early summer and are pollinated by bees. The seeds are 3-4 mm diameter, produced in a 2-5 cm long pod, green ripening black. Seed dispersal starts with explosive pod splitting in hot sunny weather, and is continued further by ants, which feed on the small fleshy peduncle at the base of the seed. The seeds are long-persistent in the soil (up to 20-30 years); this can enable the species to survive periodic bush fires, and also to survive in colder regions of northeastern Europe (southern Scandinavia, Poland, etc.) where periodical severe winters may kill the entire adult population.

There are two subspecies, which differ mainly in growth habit:

* Cytisus scoparius subsp. scoparius (Common Broom). An erect shrub, growing to 2-3 metres (rarely 4 m) tall; shoots thinly hairy at first, soon becoming glabrous. This is the common form, occuring throught most of the species range.

* Cytisus scoparius subsp. maritimus (Rouy) Heywood (Prostrate Broom). A prostrate, ground-hugging shrub, not exceeding half a metre in height; shoots densely silky-hairy. It is restricted to the Atlantic coasts of southern Ireland, west Wales, southwestern England, and northwestern France.

Broom (primarily subsp. scoparius) is widely cultivated as a garden plant, and for wildlife benefit. The Andreanus Group cultivars are particularly popular, selected for their bright orange-red to pink flowers. It is also naturalised, and sometimes an invasive weed species, in parts of Australia, New Zealand, India, and North America.

The English name derives from its historical use in the manufacture of brooms, as the harvested twigs retain a degree of flexibility in use without becoming brittle. A number of other English names, some of them offensive, have been applied to the species outside of its native range.

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Physical Description

provided by USDA PLANTS text
Perennial, Shrubs, Taproot present, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems less than 1 m tall, Stems 1-2 m tall, Stems greater than 2 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Stems winged or with decurrent stipules, Leaves alternate, Stipules inconspicuous, absent, or caducous, Leaves simple, or appearing so, Leaves compound, Leaves palmately 2-3 foliate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets 1, Leaflets 3, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Flowers solitary in axils, or appearing solitary, Flowers in axillary clusters or few- floweredracemes, 2-6 flowers, Inflorescences racemes, Inflorescence axillary, Bracts conspicuously present, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 5-lobed, Calyx 2-lipped or 2-lobed, Calyx glabrous, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals orange or yellow, Banner petal suborbicular, broadly rounded, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing tips obtuse or rounded, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Stamens 9-10, Stamens or anthers dimorphic, alternating large and small, Stamens monadelphous, united below, Filaments glabrous, Anthers versatile, Style terete, Fruit a legume, Fruit unilocular, Fruit freely dehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit explosively or elastically dehiscent, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit 11-many seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black, Seeds with appendage - aril, caruncle, funiculus, or strophiole.
Dr. David Bogler
Missouri Botanical Garden
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Cytisus scoparius

provided by wikipedia EN

Cytisus scoparius, the common broom or Scotch broom, syn. Sarothamnus scoparius, is a perennial leguminous shrub native to western and central Europe.[2] In Britain and Ireland, the standard name is broom,[3][4][5] but this name is also used for other members of the Genisteae tribe, such as French broom or Spanish broom, and the term common broom is sometimes used for clarification.[6][7] In other English-speaking countries, the most prevalent common name is Scotch broom[8] (or Scot's broom); It is known as English broom in Australia.[9]


The two subspecies of Cytisus scoparius are:[2][3]

  • C. s. subsp. scoparius - throughout the species' range
  • C. s. subsp. maritimus (Rouy) Heywood - Western Europe, on maritime cliffs, differs in prostrate growth, not over 0.4 m tall, and downy young shoots


Illustration of C. scoparius from Köhler's Medicinal Plants (1887)

Plants of C. scoparius typically grow to 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) tall, rarely to 4 m (13 ft), with main stems up to 5 cm (2.0 in)thick, rarely 10 cm (3.9 in). The shrubs have green shoots with small deciduous trifoliate leaves 5–15 mm long, and in spring and summer are 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. This species is adapted to Mediterranean and coastal climates, and its range is limited by cold winter temperatures. Especially the seeds, seedlings, and young shoots are sensitive to frost, but adult plants are hardier, and branches affected by freezing temperatures regenerate quickly.[3][5][10] C. scoparius contains toxic alkaloids that depress the heart and nervous system.[11]

As a legume, this shrub can fix nitrogen in the soil through a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium bacteria.

Distribution and habitat

C. scoparius is found in sunny sites, usually on dry, sandy soils at low altitudes, tolerating very acidic soil conditions.[3] In some places outside of its native range, such as India, South America, western North America (particularly Vancouver Island and Washington, Oregon, and California west of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains[12]), Australia, and New Zealand (where it is a declared weed)[13] it has become an ecologically destructive colonizing invasive species in grassland, shrub and woodland, and other habitats.[14][15] It is common in Great Britain and Ireland.[16][17]


Cytisus scoparius is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, with several cultivars selected for variation in flower colour, including "Moonlight" with deep yellow flowers, "Andreanus" and "Firefly" with dark orange-red flowers, and growth habit, including "Pendula" with pendulous branchlets.[10]

Invasive species

Broom is an invasive species in North America.

C. scoparius has been introduced into several other continents outside its native range and is classified as a noxious invasive species in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and parts of the east coast of North America,[14] as well as Australia,[18] New Zealand[19] and India.[20] These shrubs commonly grow in disturbed areas and along utility and transportation rights-of-way. The prolific growth of this species after timber harvest inhibits reforestation by competing with seedling trees.[21] It is estimated that it is responsible for US$47 million in lost timber production each year in Oregon.[22] In New Zealand, broom is estimated to cost the forestry industry NZ$90 million, and to cost farmers NZ$10 million.[23]

Biological control for broom has been investigated since the mid-1980s with a number of species being tested. They include the broom twig miner (Leucoptera spartifoliella), the broom seed beetle (Bruchidius villosus), the broom gall mite (Aceria genistae), the sap-sucking broom psyllid (Arytainilla spartiophila), the Scotch broom seed weevil (Exapion fuscirostre) and recently the broom leaf beetle (Gonioctena olivacea) and the broom shoot moth (Agonopterix assimilella).[24][25]


The method used to remove broom is dependent on the prolific seed cycle. Care should be taken to avoid disturbing the ground or the seeding plants between late spring and mid fall. From late fall, through winter, to mid spring are preferred times to eradicate mature plants.[26] There are several methods, cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide or introducing chickens and goats.[27] Drought areas respond well to cutting while the seed pods are young and still green. In cooler, wetter areas pulling is the preferred method, and hand-operated broom pullers are available.[28] Low temperature fires, such as a grass fire, will increase seed germination and new sprouts may form on the burned stumps of mature broom. A spring fire followed by drought conditions will reduce seedling survival.[29] Often new plants will grow from roots or seed, requiring repeated treatments.


The characteristic constituents are biogenic amines (mostly tyramine in the young shoots), flavonoids (spiraeoside and scoparoside), isoflavones and their glycosides (genistin), as well as allelopathic quinolizidine alkaloids (mostly sparteine, lupanine, scoparin and hydroxy-derivatives), which defend the plant against insect infestation and herbivory (with the exception of the resistant Aphis cytisorum).[30][31]

Medicinal uses

Broom contains scoparin, which is a diuretic. The plant also is used as a cathartic and as a cardiac stimulant which is credited to the presence of sparteine.[32] A decoction or infusion of broom can be used to treat dropsy due to its diuretic action.[33] An ointment can be made from the flowers to treat gout.[34] Oxysparteine, produced from the action of acid on the sparteine, is useful as a cardiac stimulant and has the advantage over digoxin that it does not accumulate in the body.[32]

Folklore and myth

In Welsh mythology, Blodeuwedd is the name of a woman made from the flowers of broom, meadowsweet and the oak by Math fab Mathonwy and Gwydion to be the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Her story is part of the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, the tale of Math son of Mathonwy.[34]

Broom was considered a sign of plenty when it bore many flowers.[35] However a traditional rhyme from Sussex warns: "Sweep the house with blossomed broom in May/sweep the head of the household away."[34] Broom was also used in a decorated bundle of broom at weddings in place of rosemary when that was scarce,[35] and its strong smell was said to be able to tame wild horses and dogs.[36]

In Italy, the shrub was burnt to stop witches.[34]

Royal symbols

The name of the House of Plantagenet, rulers of England in the Middle Ages, may have been derived from common broom, which was then known as planta genista in Latin.[37]:9[38]:1 The plant was used as a heraldic badge by Geoffrey V of Anjou and five other Plantagenet kings of England as a royal emblem.[39] The "broomscod", or seed-pod, was the personal emblem of Charles VI of France.


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Theplantlist.org. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Flora Europaea Search Results". Rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d M. Blamey; C. Grey-Wilson (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-40170-2.
  4. ^ "Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (zip file)". Bsbi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b H. Vedel; J. Lange (1960). Trees and Bushes. London: Metheun.
  6. ^ "Wild Flowers of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Scotland". Lenymede.demon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2006-12-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-12-05. Retrieved 2006-11-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "English broom". Agriculture.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  10. ^ a b W. J. Bean (1970). Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-1790-7.
  11. ^ Jim Pojar; A. MacKinnon; Paul B. Alaback (1994). Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Redmond, WA: Lone Pine.
  12. ^ "Cytisus scoparius, C. striatus". www.feis-crs.org. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Broom". Dpipwe.tas.gov.au. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Species Profile – Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius (L.))". National Invasive Species Information Center, United States National Agricultural Library. Archived from the original on July 26, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  15. ^ Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri; Asad R. Rahmani; Mark J. Behan (2006). "Habitat modifications by Scotch broom Cytisus scoparius invasion of grasslands of the Upper Nilgiris in India". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 103 (2–3): 356–365.
  16. ^ Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968. Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge Press. ISBN 0-521-04656-4
  17. ^ Parnell, J. and Curtis, T. 2012. Webb's An Irish Flora. Cork University Press. ISBN 978-185918-4783
  18. ^ Andrew W. Sheppard; Peter Hodge; Quentin Paynter; Mark Rees (2002). "Factors affecting invasion and persistence of broom Cytisus scoparius in Australia". Journal of Applied Ecology. 39 (5): 721–734. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00750.x. JSTOR 827200.
  19. ^ "Broom – outside Howard – St Arnaud". Pest Management. Nelson City Council. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  20. ^ K. J. B. Potter; D. J. Kriticos; M. S. Wait; A. Leriche (2009). "The current and future potential distribution of Cytisus scoparius: a weed of pastoral systems, natural ecosystems and plantation forestry". Weed Research. 49 (3): 271–282. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3180.2009.00697.x.
  21. ^ "Invasive Plant Species Management Plan: Appendix 7" (PDF). McDonald-Dunn Forest Plan. Oregon State University, College of Forestry. p. 10. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  22. ^ "Scotch broom". ODA Plant Division, Noxious Weed Control. Retrieved 2006-09-03.
  23. ^ Press release (2008-02-12). "New bio-controls for pest plant". Landcare Research. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  24. ^ "What's New In Biological Control of Weeds?" (PDF). Landcare Research. November 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  25. ^ "CSIRO: Biological control". Landcareresearch.co.nz. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Best Practices for Invasive Species Management in Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems : Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)" (PDF). Goert.ca. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Scotch Broom : Cytisus scoparius : Tips" (PDF). Bcinvasives.ca. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2015-05-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Cytisus scoparius, C. striatus". Fs.fed.us. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  30. ^ Isamu Murakoshi; Yoshiaki Yamashita; Shigeru Ohmiya; Hirotaka Otomasu (1986). "(−)-3β-13α-dihydroxylupanine from Cytisus scoparius". Phytochemistry. 25 (2): 521–524. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)85514-4.
  31. ^ Michael Wink; Thomas Hartmann; Ludger Witte; Joachim Rheinheimer (1982). "Interrelationship between quinolizidine alkaloid producing legumes and infesting insects: exploitation of the alkaloid-containing phloem sap of Cytisus scoparius by the broom aphid Aphis cytisorum" (PDF). Zeitschrift für Naturforschung. 37 (11–12): 1081–1086. doi:10.1515/znc-1982-11-1206.
  32. ^ a b A Modern Herbal, Grieve, Maude, ISBN 9780486227986, p. 127
  33. ^ A Modern Herbal, Grieve, Maude, ISBN 9780486227986, pp 126-127
  34. ^ a b c d D.C. Watts Dictionary of Plant Lore, p. 47, at Google Books
  35. ^ a b A Modern Herbal, Grieve, Maude, ISBN 9780486227986, p. 126
  36. ^ Roberto Dainotto The Mafia: A Cultural History, p. 106, at Google Books
  37. ^ Costain, Thomas B (1962). The Conquering Family. New York: Popular Library.
  38. ^ Jones, Dan (2013). The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England. Viking. ISBN 9780670026654.
  39. ^ J. Bernard Burke The Heraldic Register, p. 65, at Google Books

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Cytisus scoparius: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Cytisus scoparius, the common broom or Scotch broom, syn. Sarothamnus scoparius, is a perennial leguminous shrub native to western and central Europe. In Britain and Ireland, the standard name is broom, but this name is also used for other members of the Genisteae tribe, such as French broom or Spanish broom, and the term common broom is sometimes used for clarification. In other English-speaking countries, the most prevalent common name is Scotch broom (or Scot's broom); It is known as English broom in Australia.

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visit source
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wikipedia EN