Scotch Broom

(Also known as English Broom)

Cytisus scoparius

Family: Fabaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , ,

Description

Erect, woody perennial shrub to 3 m, with ridged, much-branched stems, common in disturbed areas.

Sparse, tiny grey-green leaves with three leaflets; older plants may be almost leafless.

Large numbers of bright yellow pea flowers, either single or in pairs, along the stems in spring.

Flat, green seed pods turn black, producing huge numbers of hard brown shiny seeds, believed to survive seventy years or more in the soil.

Don’t confuse with…

Large plants can be confused with native pea plants such as Gompholobium, because of a similar flower.

Small plants of Broom spurge (Ampera xiphoclada) can be confused with this weed because both have angular stems. Broom spurge is three-sided; broom is four-sided, or square, in cross section. The leaves and habit of Gonocarpus teucrioides, when less than 0.5 m tall, can also look similar.

Dispersal

Seed pods eject seeds up to 4 m from the plant (up to 6,000 per plant per year). Seeds can also be spread by water, animals, mud on shoes or tyres, or in contaminated soil. The plant germinates readily after a fire or soil disturbance.

Impact on bushland

Broom is extremely competitive with native plants, retarding the growth of many understory species, leading to a loss of biodiversity.

Broom alters the bushland habitat in which it grows — shading out native plants, keeping soil cool and changing soil chemistry — producing conditions that are unsuitable for local native plants.

Distribution

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Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa)
  • Hakea teretifolia
  • Banksia spinulosa
  • Native Dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia) (Lower Mountains)
  • Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis)
  • Golden Glory Pea (Gompholobium latifolium)
  • Native Pea Flowers (Pultenaea spp)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Hand pull seedlings. Cut and paint or stem inject large plants.

Follow-up is needed as removal of plants will stimulate the germination of seeds in the soil.

For more info

For key points on these techniques:Refer to the NSW Department of Primary Industry’s Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook.