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IMGP1482 Scotch broom flower crop bstewart.jpg
  • Woody, evergreen shrub grows 1 to 3 m tall

  • Introduced from Scotland in the 1850s as an ornamental 


Scotch broom
(Cytisus scoparius)

Quick Identification

  • Flowers are bright yellow similar to pea flowers

  • Stems are branching and remain green year round

  • Leaves are small and have a similar appearance to clover or alfalfa leaves

  • Fruits appear as small green pods which darken as they dry

Scotch broom outcompetes natives species in a  variety of ecosystems, reducing forage and habitat.  Plants release chemicals into the soil to prevent other plants from growing.  Scotch brooms contain a lot of natural oil which make the plant highly flammable.

Manual removal can be effective where entire plant is removed with minimal damage to the soil.  Cutting can be effective on older plants which have a smaller chance of growing back.  Targeted grazing and mowing can be helpful for reducing seed production but should be used alongside other management strategies.  Effective herbicides are available.

Flowers are bright yellow and can have red to purple streaked petals.  Flowers are about 2 cm in size.

Leaves & Stems
Younger stems remain green year round but become a reddish brown as they age.  Stems are ridged.  Leaves are about 5 to 20 mm long and can be shed relatively early in the year leaving a bare stem.  Leaves are oval and grouped similarly to clover leaves.

Preferred Habitat
This woody shrub thrives in poor, disturbed soils with high sun exposure.  It can take over forest clearings, roadsides, meadows, and utilities corridors.


Deep, woody roots.

Reproduction & Dispersal
Plants can regrow roots and when young stems are cut as well as by seed.  Scotch broom thrives in low nutrient  and disturbed soils with high sun exposure.  Seeds can remain banked in soil for decades so it can easily spread with the movement of soil.


The pea-like pods dry and burst to scatter seeds for several meters.  Plants can produce up to 10,000 seeds which can remain viable in the soil for as long as 80 years.  

Interesting Facts
Scotch broom is though to be effective in treating circulatory issues.

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