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​Terrible 10 - Scotch Broom


Scotch Broom

Scotch broom (Cystisus scoparius)

  • Found on roadsides, open pastures and dikes and dunes, hillsides.
  • Shrubby, woody plant from 3-10 ft, loosely branching, with ribbed stems bearing small leaves (usually less than 1 in. long). Bright yellow pea-like flowers appear in spring and early summer; pea-like seed pods turn black and pop open when ripe. Has no thorns, unlike gorse (which is similar). Spanish broom differs in having smooth stems and fragrant flowers.
  • Introduced to stabilize road berms and other construction sites, prolific seed production and longevity (up to 50 years) resulted in spread.
  • Displaces native plant species forming dense thickets that interfere with establishment of trees and desirable forage plants and are prone to brush fires. Prevents re-vegetation of upland and wetland sites impacting watershed. Seeds are toxic to humans and animals.