Spartium junceum

Spanish broom is one of my favourite plants in the garden. It has a wonderful floral fragrance similar to that sometimes found in other brooms in the genera Cytisus and Genista to which it is closely related. Native to drier regions of Mediterranean Europe, Africa and Asia, the plant has been introduced to other areas with Mediterranean climates as an ornamental. Like some of the other broom plants, Spartium junceum has become a serious invasive problem in some areas. It is listed as a noxious weed in California, Oregon and even Washington, just south of us here in British Columbia. However, plants have not been known to successfully set seed at UBC Botanical Garden and the species is not spreading in the province to my knowledge, but the potential is there in the warmer, drier regions.

The leguminous, evergreen plant is rush like with few small deciduous leaves. The shrubs can grow to 4 metres or more. The bright yellow flowers are larger than other brooms and borne for a long period in summer and fall. Fiber from the stems is used to make cord, textiles and paper. Essential oils and dye are extracted from the flowers.

Spartium junceum

9 responses to “Spartium junceum”

  1. quin

    lucky you in B.C. – it IS beautiful, so attractive, architectural even when out of bloom (love those sparsely-foliated stems). counting on horticulturists to derive sterile varieties as they have with other brooms – oh, please

  2. Lynne

    I live in the high deserts of the southwestern USA, where this is a very popular landscape shrub. When it blooms in spring, it’s like a bit of olfactory heaven on earth. I just want to stand outside and breathe. One bush can perfume half a block.

  3. Harpgirl

    Forgive my ignorance as I’m not a botanist. I used to live in Washington and remember my mother being horribly allergic to a bush with similar flowers, but we called it Scotch broom instead of Spanish broom. Is it the same thing? Gorgeous photo! Thanks for sharing.

  4. quin

    Harpgirl – You’re close. The plant you call Scotch Broom is generally agreed to be Cytisus(scoparius?) which is very closely related and is mentioned by Eric in his comments. If you saw these two specimens next to each other you’d be able to easily tell them apart by flower size and VERY scant foliage on Eric’s specimen of choice. In most folks’ opinion a prettier plant than your mother’s nemesis…..

  5. Eric La Fountaine

    The Scots broom is Cytisus scoparius. They are closely related.

  6. elizabeth a airhart

    nature is painting for us-day after day,pictures of infinite beauty
    i have a fondness for yellow your sky is so deeply blue tis morning time?
    would the wild fires give the spanish broom an enviroment to become invasive
    thank you all 20 10 10 arrives saturday

  7. Mandy Macdonald

    If Scots broom is actually what we have here in Scotland, this fine plant reminds me powerfully of its spring glory (we get it, together with the deeper gold gorse, in April/May).

  8. Dr. Arianna Staruch

    Is this a highly invasive species, like its cousin Scotch Broom? I know that OR Fish & Wildlife has been working on ways to control Scotch Broom.

  9. Doug

    I found it growing “wild” in Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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