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Cape or Montpelier Broom

Cape Broom

Cape broom plant

Flax-lf broom flowers

Flax-lf br pods

Scotch broom pod

Gompholobium

Goodia lotifolia

 


family

Fabaceae (peas)

status

Cape broom (Genista monspessulana) is listed as noxious in Class 2 in Bega Valley, Bombala, Cooma-Monaro, Eurobodalla, Palerang and Snowy River LCAs. It cannot be sold or propagated anywhere in the state. Despite this prohibition, plants persist in many gardens. Brooms (Cape, flax-leaf and Scotch) are listed as Weeds of National Significance.

Description

Shrubs 1-4m high flowering in spring. Cape broom has ribbed stems and leaves composed of three leaflets, like clover. Flowers are pure yellow and seed pods are hairy all over.

Dispersal

Dumping. Explosive release of seeds around parent plants. Seed can be carried in wool of sheep or on other animals feeding among plants during the seeding period.

Look-alikes

Flax-leaved broom (Genista linifolia) is a very similar plant with narrower leaflets, which although weedy is not listed as noxious (though it is included in the listing of brooms as Weeds of National Significance). Scotch or English broom (Cytisus scoparius) is generally leafless, though it may have a few one or three-leafleted leaves on young growth. Its stems are strongly ribbed and pods are hairy only around the margins. Spanish broom (Spartium junceum) has leafless non-ribbed stems. See the Scotch broom entry for more broom images.

Several broom species and cultivars are still sold in nurseries but should be avoided as all have weed potential. Cape broom might still be sold under names other than Genista monspessulana as the taxonomic status of the brooms is rather confused. However, it is not legal to sell this plant anywhere in NSW.

There are numerous native shrubs in the pea family which could be confused with brooms. Those with leaves composed of three leaflets are the glory-peas (Gompholobium species), which have pure yellow flowers. The leaflet margins are generally curled under a little on these, which is not the case in cape broom. Goldentip (Goodia lotifolia), a coastal shrub, has leaves with broad rounded leaflets similar to cape broom, but its flowers have a red or orange patch in them. Neither of these have hairy pods.

Control

Cut and paint or spray cape broom. Smaller plants can be hand-pulled or dug. Seed is long-lived in the soil and seedling growth after removal of the parent plants will need follow-up. Fire could be used to stimulate germination of all soil-stored seed but must be followed by a comprehensive control program or it will just create a greater problem.