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Cytisus scoparius (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Genisteae
Genus: Cytisus
Sectio: C. sect. Spartopsis
Species: Cytisus scoparius
Subspecies: C. s. subsp. insularis – C. s. subsp. maritimus – C. s. subsp. reverchonii – C. s. subsp. scoparius

Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link, 1822

Spartium scoparium L. (basionym)
Corema scoparium (L.) Bercht. & J.Presl
Cytisogenista scoparia (L.) Rothm.
Cytisus andreanus (Puiss.) G.Nicholson
Cytisus benehoavensis (Bolle) Svent.
Cytisus glabratus Link
Cytisus scoparius f. bicolor (Massé) Auvray
Cytisus scoparius subsp. bourgaei (Boiss.) Rivas Mart. & Fern.Gonz.
Genista andreana Puiss.
Genista angulata Poir.
Genista glabra Spach
Genista hirsuta Moench
Genista scoparia (L.) Lam.
Genista scoparia var. bicolor Massé
Genista vulgaris Garsault
Genista vulgaris Gray
Sarothamnus bourgaei Boiss.
Sarothamnus eliasii Sennen
Sarothamnus ericetorum Gand.
Sarothamnus obtusatus Gand.
Sarothamnus ochroleucus Gand.
Sarothamnus oxyphyllus Boiss.
Sarothamnus scoparius (L.) Wimm. ex W.D.J.Koch
Sarothamnus vulgaris Wimm.
Spartium angulatum Raf.
Spartium angulosum Gilib.
Spartium bourgaei (Boiss.) Samp.
Spartium glabrum Mill.


Cytisus × dallimorei Rolfe

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Central European Rus, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece,itzerland.html">Switzerland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Northwest European R, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia
Alabama, Antipodean Is., Argentina Northeast, Argentina South, Azores, British Columbia, California, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Chatham Is., Chile Central, Delaware, Idaho, India, Japan, Kentucky, Korea, KwaZulu-Natal, Madagascar, Madeira, New Jersey, New South Wales, New York, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Northern Provinces, Oregon, South Australia, Tasmania, Tennessee, Turkey-in-Europe, Victoria, Washington, West Himalaya

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Link, J.H.F. 1822. Enumeratio Plantarum Horti Regii Berolinensis Altera. Pars 2. 478 pp., G. Reimer, Berlin. BHL Reference page. : 2: 241.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Cytisus scoparius in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Jan 18. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Cytisus scoparius. Published online. Accessed: Jan 18 2021. 2021. Cytisus scoparius. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 18 Jan 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Cytisus scoparius. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Jan 18. Reference page.
Flora of NW Europe Cytisus scoparius.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Cytisus scoparius in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
العربية: لزان مكنسي
català: Ginesta d'escombres
kaszëbsczi: Diôbli ògón
čeština: Janovec metlatý
dansk: Almindelig Gyvel
Deutsch: Besenginster
dolnoserbski: Chóšć
English: Common Broom
español: Retama negra
suomi: Jänönvihma
français: Genêt à balais
Frysk: Bremerheide
galego: Xesta
hornjoserbsce: Chošćowc
magyar: Seprűzanót
italiano: Ginestra dei carbonai
日本語: エニシダ
한국어: 양골담초
lietuvių: Šluotinis raipstas
norsk bokmål: Gyvel
Nederlands: Brem
norsk: Gyvel
polski: Żarnowiec miotlasty
português: Giesta
русский: Ракитник венечный
sardu: Ginestra
slovenčina: Prútnatec metlovitý
Seeltersk: Brom
svenska: Harris
Türkçe: Kuşçubuğu
українська: Рокитник звичайний
中文: 金雀儿

Cytisus scoparius (syn. Sarothamnus scoparius), the common broom or Scotch broom, is a deciduous leguminous shrub native to western and central Europe.[2] In Britain and Ireland, the standard name is broom;[3][4][5] 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 common name is "Scotch broom" (or Scots broom);[8] however, it is known as English broom in Australia.[9]


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

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


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]
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). Stems are ridged and green.[11] 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. The seed pods have long hairs only along their seams.[11] 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; 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.[12]

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

Cytisus 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[13]), Australia, and New Zealand (where it is a declared weed)[14] it has become an ecologically destructive colonizing invasive species in grassland, shrub and woodland, and other habitats.[15][16] It is common in Great Britain and Ireland.[17][18]
Invasive species
Broom is an invasive species in North America.

Cytisus 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,[15] as well as Australia,[19] New Zealand[20] and India.[21] 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.[22] It is estimated that it is responsible for US$47 million in lost timber production each year in Oregon.[23] In New Zealand, broom is estimated to cost the forestry industry NZ$90 million, and to cost farmers NZ$10 million.[24]

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).[25][26]

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.[27] There are several methods, cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide or introducing chickens and goats.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30] Often new plants will grow from roots or seed, requiring repeated treatments.

One of main alkaloids of this plant is cytisine. 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).[31][32]
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.[33] A decoction or infusion of broom can be used to treat dropsy due to its diuretic action.[34] An ointment can be made from the flowers to treat gout.[35] 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.[33]
Folklore and myth

In Welsh mythology, Blodeuwedd is the name of a woman made from the flowers of broom, meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) 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.[35]

Broom was considered a sign of plenty when it bore many flowers.[36] However a traditional rhyme from Sussex warns: "Sweep the house with blossomed broom in May/sweep the head of the household away."[35] Broom was also used in a decorated bundle of broom at weddings in place of rosemary when that was scarce,[36] and its strong smell was said to be able to tame wild horses and dogs.[37]

In Italy, the shrub was burnt to stop witches.[35]
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.[38]: 9 [39]: 1  The plant was used as a heraldic badge by Geoffrey V of Anjou and five Plantagenet kings of England as a royal emblem.[40] The broomscod, or seed-pod, was the personal emblem of Charles VI of France.
See also

French broom
Spanish broom
Broom of the Cowdenknowes


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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. S2CID 6640269.
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Further reading
"Scotch Broom". Ingrid Parker's Lab • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology • UC Santa Cruz. Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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