French Broom. Photo Credit: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
Scotch broom. Photo Credit: Eric Coombs, ODA, Bugwood.org
Scotch Broom. Photo Credit: Martin LaBar, Flickr
Scotch broom seedpod. Photo Credit: Martin LaBar, Flickr
French broom. Photo Credit: Jill Motts, Flickr
Scotch broom infestation.
- Scotch Broom (Cytisus scorparius) also called Scot’s, English, European or common broom
- Portuguese broom (Cytisus striatus) also called striated broom
- Spanish broom (Spartium junceum) also called weaver’s broom
- French broom (Genista monspessulana) also called canary broom
Chances are you’ve seen Scotch broom. Its bright yellow flowers stand out along roads and highways throughout the Tualatin River watershed. While its flowers bring a splash of color to the landscape, its dense growth displaces native plants and crops. It also creates ladder fuels in forested areas.
|Life Cycle:||Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)|
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:||No|
|Height:||Up to 10 feet (3 meters)|
|Leaf Description:||Brooms have very few leaves. The leaves that it has are dark green and fall off early in the year, leaving bare green stems.|
|Fruit & Flower Description:||Brooms produce a mass of bright yellow, pea-like flowers. Each flower has five petals.|
Brooms produce thousands of tiny seed pods once they have bloomed. Their seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 30 years.
|Bloom Time:||April to June|
- Brooms grow best in open sunny areas with well-drained soils.
- They can be found along roadsides, pastures, grasslands, and areas that recently experienced soil disturbance.
- Brooms grow in dense stands that outcompete native plants and crops for space and nutrients.
- They pose a serious fire hazard. Dense stands create ladder fuelsFuels can include anything from living and dead trees, shrubs, grassy fields, and human-built structures. that allow wildfire to spread into tree canopies.
- Scotch broom seeds are toxic to some livestock.
What you can do about it:
- Manual treatment, such as hand pulling or digging, are options for small infestations. The best time for this is in the spring when the ground is damp.
- Treatment must be repeated for many years because these species produce thousands of long-lived seeds and are able to re-sprout from small stems, stumps, or root crowns.
- Weed wrenches can assist with removing brooms. If you are in Washington County, we lend these tools for free from our tool library.
Brooms are often confused with gorse (Ulex europaeus). Unlike broom species, gorse has thorny stems.
Individual brooms species have similar characteristics, but there are slight differences that distinguish each species. Visit the resources below to explore these differences.
Noxious Weed Listing:
|State of Oregon:||Class B|
|State of Washington:||Class B|
- Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook: Brooms
- Oregon Department of Agriculture: Scotch broom
- Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board: Scotch broom
- University of California, Weed Research & Information Center: Scotch broom
- Oregon Department of Agriculture: Portuguese broom
- Oregon Department of Agriculture: Spanish broom
- Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board: Spanish broom
- University of California, Weed Research & Information Center: Spanish broom