Tree Lucerne

(Also known as Tagasaste)

Cytisus proliferus and Chamaecytisus palmensis

Family: Fabaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , , , ,

Description

Tree Lucerne is a small, spreading, evergreen tree that grows 3–4 m high. The bark is rough yellow grey.

When growing on deep, freely draining soils, its roots can extend downwards 10 m or more.

Leaves comprise three equal sized, greyish green leaflets, slightly paler on the underside; young growth is velvety or hairy.

Scented, creamy white flowers appear in late winter and spring and form in small clusters in the leaf axils.

Seed pods are flat, pea like and green, ripening to shiny black.

Dispersal

In hot weather, seeds can be released from pods explosively. Ants also spread the seed.

Impact on bushland

Tree Lucerne tends to stay at the edges of bush, but because it produces so many seeds, it has the potential to invade and modify native bushland.

Distribution

,

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Dagger Hakea (Hakea teretifolia)
  • Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa)
  • Lance Leaf Beard Heath (Leucopogon lanceolata)
  • Grevillea spp.
  • Banksia spp.

In the Lower Mountains, plant:

  • Native Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa)

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

Seedlings can easily be hand pulled, ensuring all parts of the root system are removed. Drill and inject large trees. Cut and paint saplings.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: