Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Scotch Broom

Scotch Broom

Each May, Scotch Broom is in full bloom here in Powell River and all along the Sunshine Coast. Most of the year it's a nondescript evergreen, but each spring it stands out in all of its magnificent yellow glory. But Broom also has a darker side. A little research led us to an interesting, if not scary, story.

Scotch Broom is a non-native invasive perennial shrub that has taken hold in many places in the US and western Canada as far north as the Queen Charlotte Islands. It was first introduced in the US as an ornamental plant in the 1800s and in Victoria, BC, in 1850. It has spread an amazing distance in a relative short period of time. It is categorized in many places as a noxious weed and efforts at eradication are taken to protect native plants, re-foresting efforts and animal habitats.

The Latin name for Scotch Broom is Cytisus scoparius. It was introduced from Europe where it was used in the “olden days” for thatching and brooms, hence the common name. The seeds that develop from the pea-like yellow flowers are prolific and grow vigorously. The plants are adaptable to many soil types. You will find it in road and logging cuts where the plants thrive in the direct sunlight. Current uses are minimal beyond ornamental value (the yellow flowers are beautiful).

There is a unique approach for the control of Scotch Broom. The Uprooter can be used to pull the entire plant out, roots and all. That must be some tool to pull out a plant than can reach 10 metres high! Take a look. -- Margy


  1. Anonymous7:55 AM

    Here on San Juan Island we are urged to eradicate it as it sickens cattle and makes us sneeze.

  2. So pretty - didn't realize it was such an invasive plant!

  3. Great selection of photos, the first one is my favourite.

    Have a great weekend.
    Regina In Pictures

  4. I have spent many springs weed wrenching broom from the dunes of Tlell. It changes the composition of the soil. I also believe there is a non propogating broom if people really want some! Thanks for sharing this great info.

  5. I have been pulling broom on my Gulf Islands property for years, it just keeps coming back. At least I can now easily keep it in check.

    This spring I decided to rid my new Cowichan Valley property of broom and purchsed a Puller Bear, made locally on Vancouver Island. It's amazing, I removed about 200 plants within a few hours. I've been thinking that all the towns and villages need to have something like this available for people to borrow. Good for Bellingham.

  6. A great broom removing tool that I'm familiar with is the Extractigator. It's 100% Canadian made, which is important to me, and it is super easy to use. I own mine, but I know they can also be rented from the Rotary Club.

  7. We've been battling the broom for years and losing! Until we got our scotch broom puller we couldn't stay ahead of it. We have a pullerbear and now we've cleared it all and our neighbours have borrowed it and now they're working at getting ahead of it. Thanks for the great pics.

  8. Such a beautiful plant, - too bad it has such invasive qualities, - don't see it here in abundance in our semi desert climate.

  9. I love broom! It grows all along the Danes Dyke at Flamborough, Yorkshire. Did you know that if you stand quietly among flowering broom bushes you can hear their seed pods popping?

  10. Wonderful pictures, I love these flowers, wonderful colors !! Happy New Year!

  11. mellow yellow!

  12. such a pretty shade of yellow, we also have this shrub in the UK and it is delightful in bloom!

    best wishes,
    ABCW team

  13. Thanks all for stopping by and commenting for ABC Wednesday. Another round is almost complete. Hard to believe. - Margy