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