Common Name:Spanish broom
Botanical name:Spartium junceum
Legal Status:NEMBA Category 1b
This is an unarmed, multi-stemmed shrub, native to Europe and growing to 1,5m-2,5m in height, with upright long and slender cylindrical green branches. The leaves are simple, undivided, silky beneath and blue-green in colour. Fragrant yellow flowers 25mm long and in racemes 300-400mm long are produced from August to November. Seeds consist of flattened brown pods up to 75mm long, initially covered with silky white hairs.
Where does this species come from?
This invasive alien plant originates from the Mediterranean region of Europe.
Why is it a problem?
Spanish broom is one of the most problematic weeds. They block light and use up water, resulting in many native species becoming locally extinct. It reduces forage and creates stands which are inaccessible and unpalatable to wildlife. Brooms can produce up to 12,000 seeds per plant – making it difficult to control once established. They form dense stands that cover 100% and eliminate native habitats. Brooms can invade even intact native ecosystems – and regrow after fire and grazing are used to control them.
Means of reproduction?
Spanish broom reproduces by seed after two to three years of growth.Each inflorescence produces ten to fifteen pods containing approximately fifteen seeds each. One plant can easily produce 7,000 to 10,000 seed in one season. Seeds fall near the plant and are subsequently moved by erosion, rain wash, and possibly ants. Seed viability is at least five years, suggesting that a significant seedbank is present in these stands.
For more information: Invasive Species South Africa - Spartium junceum - Spanish broom
City of Cape Town Invasive Species ID Kit - Click here to download a z-folder pamphlet on Spartium junceum - Spanish broom