Scotch Broom

(Also known as English Broom)

Cytisus scoparius

Family: Fabaceae

Type of weed:

Noxious Weed Class 3 and WoNS (Weed of National Significance). (See more , noxious weeds).

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

,

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.

Noxious Weed Class 3

Regionally Controlled Weeds

Characteristics: Class 3 noxious weeds are plants that pose a serious threat to primary production or the environment of an area to which the order applies, are not widely distributed in the area and are likely to spread in the area or to another area.

Control objective: Reduce the area and the impact of those plants in parts of NSW.

Control action: The plant must be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.

NSW Noxious Weeds Act 1993

Refer to the NSW Department of Primary Industry’s Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook.

WoNS (Weeds of National Significance)

All of the Australian governments have agreed on a list of thirty-two Weeds of National significance.

These weeds were chosen because of their:

  • invasiveness,
  • potential for spread,
  • environmental, social and economic impacts, and
  • the potential to manage them successfully.

Managing Weeds of National Significance

If you have any of these weeds on land you own or manage, you have a responsibity to manage them.

The reason these weeds have special status is that managing them requires coordination by every level of government, organisations and responsible individuals.

There is a strategic plan for each of the Weeds of National Significance, making clear how everyone is to work together, from research through to on the ground action.

For more information, visit the Federal Environment website.