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.