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Scotch or English Broom

Scotch Broom pod

Scotch Broom flowers

Scotch Broom fl close

Gorse

Spanish broom plant

Spanish broom fl

Gompholobium

Goodia lotifolia

Jacks scop plant

Jacks scop fl

Jacks scop leaves on young growth

Viminaria juncea plant

Viminaria juncea fl

     


family

Fabaceae (peas)

status

Scotch or English broom (Cytisus scoparius) is listed as noxious in Class 4 in all South East Region LCAs. It cannot be propagated or sold anywhere in the state. 

description

Scotch or English broom is an erect shrub 1-2 metres high, with pure bright yellow pea flowers in spring, followed by hairy seed pods. Broom is generally leafless, with the flowers borne on green ribbed stems. Younger plants may have a few leaves composed of either one or three leaflets. 

View a fact sheet for this species below.

preferred habitat and impacts

Originally a garden escapee, and often found close to towns or old farmhouses. Brooms, and the closely related gorse, are very bad weeds of cooler areas, where they can come to dominate the understorey of otherwise undisturbed open forest and woodland. They do not like deep shade. Allegedly sterile hybrid forms of both Cytisus and Genista brooms are still sold in nurseries. These have been observed to produce seed and revert to the wild type, and should not be planted.
Being legumes, the brooms fix nitrogen, and can increase soil fertility, encouraging other weeds to invade. Dense infestations provide rabbit harbour.

dispersal

Dumped seed-bearing garden waste or movement of seed-contaminated soil. Explosive release of seeds around parent plants. Seed can become entangled in the wool of sheep feeding on infested pasture or be spread in soil in the hooves of other livestock.

look-alikes

Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is another weed in the pea family with pure yellow flowers and hairy pods. It is a very spiny large shrub, with similar 3-foliolate leaves on young plants, becoming leafless with age. It is a weed of the tablelands, and is uncommon on the south coast. It is a Weed of National Significance.
Tree lucerne or tagasaste (Chamaecytisus palmensis) is an environmental weed with larger 3-foliolate leaves, white pea flowers and flat furry seed pods. It grows into a small spreading tree.
Spanish broom (Spartium junceum) is a similar leafless shrub to English broom, but has smooth, not ribbed, stems. It is not very commonly planted, but it is potentially invasive.

There are a number of native shrubs in the pea family which have some of the features of the brooms. Most native pea shrubs have yellow flowers with blotches of brown, red or orange, not pure yellow. Glory-peas (Gompholobium species) have leaves with 3 leaflets and pure yellow flowers, and goldentip (Goodia lotifolia) has 3 leaflets and yellow flowers with a touch of red, but neither have hairy pods. Both are mostly coastal in distribution. Dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia) is a leafless shrub, but its stems are silvery-grey, not green, and often weeping in habit, except in young plants. Its flowers are a deep yellow, and pods are tiny and not hairy. It grows to about 3m, and has thick furrowed black bark. It is uncommon on the south coast and very uncommon on the tablelands. The leafless native pea Viminaria juncea has a more upright habit, green stems and flowers with a touch of red. It grows in swampy situations on the coast.

There are a number of leafless native shrubs and small trees, but none of these have yellow pea flowers. Most have very small inconspicuous white flowers.

control

For large broom plants, cut and paint. Seedlings and smaller plants can be hand-pulled or dug out. Seed is long-lived in the soil and seedling growth after removal of the parent plants will need follow-up work. Spray if seedling growth is prolific, or hand-pull. Prolific seed production and long viability means a large soil seed bank, which will continue to germinate for many years after mature plants are removed. Fire may be helpful in germinating most seed so seedlings can be sprayed, but fire without follow-up control of regrowth is only likely to make the situation worse.






Scotch broom PDF Scotch broom PDF 459.7 KB