Cytisus scoparius/Sarothamnus scoparius

Cytisus scoparius/Sarothamnus scoparius

Scotch Broom



Though Sarothamnus with its one single species has been made a separate genus, it is still often considered as belonging to the genus Cytisus and is still listed as Cytisus in most catalogues. Native to central and southern Europe, it is a thickly branched, twiggy shrub growing to a height of 3 m (10 ft). The twigs are often angular, soft and green. Because they are flexible they were commonly used to make brooms (the Latin word scopa means ‘broom’). The leaves are small, the lower ones trifoliate, those near the tips of the shoots simple. The flowers are golden-yellow, pea-like and about 2 cm (¾ in) long, appearing, often in great abundance, in May and June. Good garden forms are ‘Andreanus’, with yellow, brown-spotted flowers; ‘Burkwoodii’, with flowers spotted reddish-brown; ‘Butterfly’, with brown-spotted flowers; ‘Daisy Hill’, with reddish flowers; and ‘Firefly’, also with reddish flowers.

Broom produces numerous lateral shoots that hold the soil. It requires a neutral or fairly acid, sandy or gravelly soil and does not tolerate poor, shallow, chalky soils nor one which is excessively acid. In its native land it is a pioneering woody plant that rapidly covers dry banks, roadside embankments, abandoned quarries and similar places. It gets on well with birches, pines and heather and quickly spreads because of its self-seeding properties which sometimes make it an unpleasant and troublesome weed. In small gardens brooms should be planted as solitary specimens so that they do not overrun the place. They are often used for planting in parks and in the landscape.

01. May 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Ornamental Shrubs, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Cytisus scoparius/Sarothamnus scoparius


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