Cape Broom

(Also known as Montpellier Broom)

Genista monspessulana

Family: Fabaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , , , , ,

Description

Cape Broom is a woody perennial shrub with many branches to 3–4 m. The plant remains green and leafy throughout the year.

Leaves are small and have three leaflets, 5–20 mm long.

Yellow pea flowers are very numerous, 8–12 mm long, appearing in clusters on the ends of the branchlets during spring and summer.

The seed pod is brown and densely hairy, 15–25 mm long, containing 6 or 7 hard, black and shiny seeds.

Don’t confuse with…

Large plants can be confused with native pea plants such as Gompholobium because of similarities with the flowers and flowering times.

Small plants of Broom Spurge (Ampera xiphoclada) can be confused with this weed because they both have angular stems. The Broom Spurge stem is three-sided; Broom is four-sided (or square) in cross section.

The leaves and habit of Raspwort (Gonocarpus teucrioides), when less than 0.5m, can also look similar.

Dispersal

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, or in contaminated soil. Fire or soil disturbance stimulates prolific germination.

Impact on bushland

Cape Broom competes with native plants, often forming a monoculture, leading to a loss of biodiversity. It produces seed which is long lived.

Distribution

, . Mainly the Lower to Mid Mountains.

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis)
  • Red Stemmed Wattle (A. myrtifolia)
  • (Breynia oblongifolia)
  • Yellow Pittosporum (Pittosporum revolutum)
  • Australian Indigo (Indigofera australis)
  • Native Dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia)
  • 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

Follow-up is needed as germination of seeds stored in the soil will be stimulated by the removal of existing plants.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: