Broom

Latin Name: Genista spp.

Broom Shrub

Broom Shrub

Origin: Native to Europe, Mediterranean to Western Asia

Family: Fabaceae

Known Hazards: None known.

Origin: Native to Europe, Mediterranean to Western Asia

Habitat: Thickets, poor pastures and heaths.

Edibility Rating: 0 (1-5)

Medicinal Rating: 1 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics: A decidious Shrub growing to 0.6m. It is in flower from December to January. The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. It can fix Nitrogen. Both genera Cytisus andGenista are similar in appearance and have the same common name. Genista contains 90 species of shrubs or small trees often deciduous or appearing evergreen due to green flattened branches. They are sometimes spiny. Pea-like yellow flowers are carried in dense heads. Seeds which are poisonous are borne in pods. The seeds may live for years in the soil germinating densely after fire.

Edible Uses None known

Medicinal Uses

Miscellany. Formerly cultivated as a medicinal plant. No further details.

Cluster of flowers by Tim Waters

Cluster of flowers by Tim Waters

Other Uses

Dye. A yellow dye is obtained from the plant.

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Notes: One of the most common species is Montpellier broom, Genista monspessulana, an evergreen shrub to about 3000m high. Each pod contains about six black seeds which are shed explosively over one or two metres from the parent plant. Montpellier broom has an extensive root system which enables it to withstand drought. Montpellier broom is believed to have been introduced to Australia in the 19th century and has since become naturalised in NSW, Victoria, south west Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania and the ACT where it occurs along roadsides and in the hills behind Canberra.

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