Tree Lucerne

(Also known as Tagasaste)

Cytisus proliferus and Chamaecytisus palmensis

Family: Fabaceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s):

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , , , ,


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.


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.



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.


  • Hand remove
  • Spray
  • Stem inject or frill
  • Cut and paint

Manual control

Hand remove

Grasp stem at ground level. Rock weed backwards and forwards to loosen roots, then pull out gently. Carefully tap the roots to dislodge attached soil. Replace disturbed soil and pat down.

  • Leave weeds so that roots do not make contact with soil; on a rock, for instance. A small amount of debris may be hung in a tree or removed from the site.
  • Vary the position of your body to avoid fatigue when removing plants by hand over extended periods.

Chemical control

Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate, Picloram, Triclopyr.


Please consult the Herbicide page of this website to help you decide whether to spray, how to do it safely and more.

Stem injection or frilling

Stem injection
Drilling holes at 45° and squirting poison into holes
Apply poison immediately after drilling

At the base of the tree, drill holes at a 45° angle into the sapwood (just under the outer bark) at two finger space intervals around the entire base of the tree. Repeat this process below the lowest branch


As an alternative to drilling, make cuts into the sapwood with a chisel or axe. Fill each cut/hole with herbicide immediately. Repeat the process at 3 cm intervals around the tree.


Plants should be healthy and actively growing. Deciduous plants should be treated in spring and autumn when leaves are fully formed. For multi-stemmed plants, inject or chip below the lowest branch or treat each stem individually. Herbicide must be injected immediately before the plant cells close (within 30 seconds before translocation of herbicide ceases.)

Cut and paint

Applying poison to cut stump from squeeze bottle
Apply poison immediately after cutting

Useful for small to medium sized woody weeds up to 10 cm in diameter.

Make a horizontal cut as close to the ground as possible with secateurs or loppers, and immediately apply concentrated Glyphosate to the exposed stump surface. Do not allow the surface to get covered with soil.

Specific control tips for this weed

  • 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 key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: