Scotch broom

Cytisus scoparius

Description

  • Yellow pea-like flower, sometimes with a red marking.
  • Grows one to three metres tall.
  • Stem is woody – newer growth is green and has ridged edges.
  • Seedpods are initially green and turn brown to black as they mature.
  • Seedpods dry in late summer, become curled and burst open projecting seeds up to 5 metres.

Consequences of invasion

  • Takes over rangelands and plantations resulting in decreased crop yields and plantation failures
  • The plant is very flammable and the buildup of dead material in dense patches can create a fire hazard.
  • Obstructs driver views on roadsides
  • Scotch broom outcompetes native species which affects the food chain, and can negatively impact rangelands and agricultural areas.

Introduction and Spread

  • Originally introduced as an ornamental plant, this plant has become invasive and spread across southern BC.
  • Seeds can be transported by travelling on machinery, boots/clothing and vehicles.
  • When seed pods burst, the seeds can travel up to 5m which allows the plant to spread rapidly across an area.
  • Seeds can remain viable in the soil for many years.
  • Activities that disturb soil can encourage seeds present in the soil to germinate.

Management Options

  • Become Plantwise and learn about Grow Me Instead
  • Minimize soil disturbances and plant competitive shrubbery such as snowberry, salmonberry, thimbleberry or Oregon grape
  • Scotch broom can be hand-pulled if plants are small – with larger plants this can disturb the soil and lead to further infestation.
  • For larger plants, cut the plant stem as close to the ground as possible.
  • Dispose of plants (especially seed pods) securely and do not compost as the seeds can remain viable in the compost for many years.

Reporting Sightings

There is a containment area for Scotch broom as shown on the map below. Management activities for Scotch broom are focused on preventing the spread of the species outside of that area. If you see Scotch broom growing outside of the containment area shown below, please send an email to info@ckiss.ca. Please include the following details: date observed, precise location, photos, and the size of the infestation.

Containment area for Scotch broom in the CKISS region

More information available:

ISCBC Scotch Broom Factsheet
ISCMV Scotch Broom Best Management Practices
Coastal Invasive Species Council – Scotch Broom
Broom Busters

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